Amendment Text: S.Amdt.838 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)

Shown Here:
Amendment as Proposed (03/25/2015)

This Amendment appears on page S1883-1884 in the following article from the Congressional Record.


[Pages S1840-S1886]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




    CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET, FISCAL YEAR 2016--Continued

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the votes 
scheduled for 12:15 p.m. now take place at 12:30 p.m., with the 
Democrats controlling 15 minutes and the majority controlling the 
remaining time, with all provisions of the previous order remaining in 
effect.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Flake). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                           Amendment No. 652

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, the amendment we are going to be 
discussing now--and I will say a few words about it in a moment--deals 
with one of the most important issues facing our country; that is, the 
lack of affordability of college and the reality that when millions of 
our young people graduate school, they are left in crushing debt year 
after year after year, and they are unable to refinance that debt which 
has a huge impact on their lives.
  I give time now to Senator Warren, who has played a great role in 
focusing on this issue and has brought forth what I think is an 
excellent amendment.
  I yield to the Senator from Massachusetts.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I rise to urge my colleagues to support 
amendment No. 652, to refinance existing student loans and bring down 
the high interest rates that are dragging down millions of Americans.
  When rates are low, people refinance their mortgages. When rates are 
low, businesses refinance their debt. Well, rates are low, and we want 
to give the 40 million Americans who are dealing with student loans the 
same chance to refinance their loans.
  Last year, Republicans blocked our efforts to lower student loan 
interest rates. They said there were other, better ways to deal with 
student loan debt, but they did nothing. So tens of millions of 
borrowers got nothing, and millions of borrowers are still stuck paying 
interest rates at 6 percent, 8 percent, 10 percent, and even higher.
  While Republicans were busy blocking student loan refinancing, our 
country's student debt problem got worse--much worse. In the last year, 
outstanding student debt has increased by $100 billion dollars. Nearly 
1 million more borrowers have fallen behind on their student loans. The 
interest rate on new student loans only got higher.

  This amendment offers us a chance to actually do something for the 
millions of Americans who are dealing with student loan debt. The idea 
is simple: Refinance outstanding student loans down to 3.9 percent for 
undergraduates, a little higher for graduate students. The amendment 
would save borrowers hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars a 
year, all without adding a dime to our deficit. It is fully paid for by 
closing a tax loophole that allows millionaires and billionaires to pay 
a lower tax rate than middle-class families.
  We have a choice--protect a tax loophole for billionaires or give 
tens of millions of people a chance to refinance their student loans. A 
choice--protect a tax loophole for billionaires or give millions of 
middle-class people a chance to build some real economic security.
  Congress has worked far too long for the billionaires. Now it is time 
for Congress to work for hard-working people.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, let's be frank. We live in a global 
economy. We need the best educated workforce in the world to compete. 
Yet we are making it harder and harder for middle-class families to 
send their kids to college. At the same time, we are saying to those 
young people who go to college: You are going to be living with an 
oppressive debt for decades--for decades.
  Several months ago, I talked to a young woman in Burlington, VT. Her 
crime was that she went to medical school in order to become a primary 
care physician. Those are exactly the people we need. She left medical 
school with $300,000 in debt. Does anybody think that makes any sense 
at all?
  Right now, if you want to go out and buy a new car, you can get 
interest rates in some cases of 0 percent, 1 percent, 2 percent. If you 
want to refinance your home, you can pay 3 percent, 4 percent, 5 
percent. Yet, when parents want to send their kids to college or young 
people themselves take out loans, they are forced to pay 6 percent, 8 
percent, or even a higher percent for the crime of wanting to get a 
higher education.
  Senator Warren's amendment is eminently sensible. It significantly 
lowers interest rates, cutting them almost in half to 3.9 percent. This 
would be a huge blessing for millions of young people who are having a 
hard time buying homes, a hard time even starting families because they 
are dealing with this oppressive debt.
  The last point I would make--and I hope everybody remembers this--
when

[[Page S1841]]

Wall Street, because of their greed, recklessness, and illegal 
behavior, needed to be bailed out, the Fed provided them with zero and 
one-half of 1 percent interest rates by the trillions of dollars. If we 
could bail out Wall Street--if the Fed could bail out Wall Street with 
extremely low interest rates, it is time for us to treat the young 
people in this country and their parents with the same respect. We need 
to substantially lower interest rates on student debt, and the Warren 
amendment would do that.
  I yield 3 minutes to the Senator from New Hampshire.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire is recognized.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I appreciate and support the comments 
from my colleague, my neighbor from Vermont, Senator Sanders. I am 
pleased to be here to support Senator Warren's bill, which I am 
cosponsoring.
  This amendment would allow our young people to refinance their 
student loans. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt in 
this country. This is an issue about the economy of this country, but 
even more important it is an issue about the future of our young 
people.
  In New Hampshire, we have the second highest student loan debt in the 
country. I have talked to young people and their families, who say they 
are delaying getting married, they are delaying having children, and 
they are delaying buying houses because of their student loan debt. 
Yet, families can refinance their houses and they can refinance their 
cars. They should be able to refinance their student loans.
  This is critical to getting our economy moving again in the way it 
should. It is critical to ensuring that our young people have a future. 
I hope all of our colleagues will take a look at this legislation and 
will agree that it makes sense. We need to do this for our families, 
for our students, and for our country.
  I yield back to the Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. The Senator from Rhode Island, 3 minutes.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I will be even briefer than that.
  Mr. SANDERS. The Senator from Rhode Island gets 2 minutes, then.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be 
added as a cosponsor to Senator Warren's amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Rhode Island is the very proud location of some of 
the best universities in the country. We have very high university 
density in our small State. We have everything from Brown University in 
Providence, to our wonderful State universities led by the University 
of Rhode Island, to leading Catholic colleges such as Providence 
College and Salve Regina in Newport, RI. To support kids in getting 
their college educations and to bring down the cost is a priority for 
us in Rhode Island. I am proud to cosponsor this amendment.
  I yield back any further time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. BOOKER. I thank the Presiding Officer for recognizing me.
  Mr. President, I, too, wish to rise in support of this amendment. In 
a nation that is finding itself increasingly with global competitors, 
where other nations--some of the most active economic competitors we 
have are doing everything they can to keep the cost of college low. In 
Germany, 4 percent to 5 percent of median income is the cost of 
college. In Canada, 5 percent to 6 percent of median income is the cost 
of college. In England, 6 percent to 7 percent of median income is the 
cost of college. Other competitive democracies know to widen the 
avenues to greater college education. But here in the United States, 
the cost of college is over 50 percent of the median income.
  We are raising barriers to our children getting in the game, being on 
the field, and playing. I say that when you field a team--when Stanford 
would compete in football, we didn't leave four or five of our players 
on the side lines; we got everybody on the field. That is what we need.
  This amendment is common sense. We should not be profiting as a 
government off the backs of our students. We should allow them to 
refinance their student debt. That is why I support it, and I am 
grateful for my colleagues' support as well.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, how much time do we have left?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democrats have 5 minutes remaining.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, over the last several months, I have had 
three town meetings in Vermont with young people on this issue. It is 
an issue of huge concern to them and their parents. As Senator Booker 
just mentioned, we are competing with countries all over the world that 
say to their young people: If you have the ability and you have the 
desire, you can go to college regardless of your income.
  In Germany, tuition for college is now zero. In many Scandinavian 
countries, it is now zero. What they are saying to the young people is, 
we need you to get the best education to help us create the strongest 
economy, to create the jobs we need.
  How insane is it for us to literally discourage bright young people 
from attending college or to tell others that if they graduate college 
or graduate school, they are going to be $70,000, $80,000, $100,000 in 
debt? What sense does this make for the well-being of the middle class 
of this country or for our economic competitiveness?
  In the next month, I will be personally introducing legislation that 
will cut and do away with tuition in public colleges and universities, 
but today what we are focusing on is legislation that is so sensible, 
so obvious, it is hard for me to imagine that anybody can vote against 
it. I have in my office at least two attorneys who are struggling with 
huge student debts. This is true all over this country. They graduated 
from college 15 years ago. They are still paying off that debt, and it 
impacts what they can do. We have evidence out there that families are 
not having children because of student debt, not buying homes because 
of student debt. Why is it that people have to pay double or triple 
interest rates because they got an education as opposed to what they 
would pay when they purchase a car or a home? Does anybody think that 
makes sense?
  Today we have an opportunity to stand up for the young people of this 
country and say we want them to get an education and we want them to 
have the freedom to live their lives after they leave school. That is 
what this amendment is about.
  I yield time to the Senator from Virginia, Mr. Kaine.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I also rise to speak on behalf of this 
budget amendment. I will be brief.
  There is a wonderful organization that analyzes education in this 
country called the Lumina Foundation. Their main area of research is 
the percentage of adults in the country and competitor countries who 
have higher education degrees. Because of the GI bill, the United 
States rocketed ahead of other nations and became the clear leading 
country in the world in the percentage of adults with higher education 
degrees. There wasn't a close second. But now we are 10th to 15th in 
the world and slipping.
  I would argue that the economic future for this country is not one 
that we would like if the United States continues to slip further and 
further behind other nations in the percentage of our folks with higher 
education degrees. That is why I support this amendment.
  I yield back my time.
  Mr. SANDERS. I yield 1 minute to the Senator from Michigan.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I am very pleased to be here on the 
floor of the Senate with Senator Warren, Senator Sanders, and all of my 
colleagues on the Democratic side who feel very strongly that if young 
people are going to have a fair shot to get ahead, to enter the middle 
class, to be a part of a thriving economy, they have to come out of 
college without mountains of debt so they can go and buy a house and a 
car and have a family and a career and not be saddled with outrageous 
debt. That is what this amendment is about.
  If there were ever an amendment that said we want middle-class 
opportunity for everybody, it is this one. I hope we will have a 
unanimous vote.

[[Page S1842]]

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, let me conclude by saying this: The high 
cost of college and student debt is one of the great issues facing our 
country. We are trying to lower student debt significantly. Our 
Republican colleagues' response to the crisis is to cut $90 billion in 
mandatory funding for Pell grants. The choice is pretty clear. We are 
looking at the future of this country and the need for our young people 
to get the best education possible and to not graduate college deeply 
in debt. That is what this amendment is about. I hope we will have 
strong bipartisan support for it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. I don't think there is anybody on either side of the aisle 
who isn't concerned about student debt, the cost of interest and 
college and the number of people graduating with debt. Addressing 
college costs and the burden of high student debt loans must be a 
priority, but it can't be done on a budget bill. We can't have policy 
on a budget resolution. I know this doesn't include all of her policy, 
so it is an incomplete bill.
  The Office of Management and Budget last month disclosed that 
participation in the existing income-based repayment plan has been much 
higher than was anticipated, and the administration is currently in the 
process of extending those existing repayment options to all the 
eligible borrowers with outstanding student loans. Therefore, the OMB 
now projects that the existing student loan portfolio will cost 
taxpayers an additional $22 billion. That is $22 billion more being 
spent to alleviate the repayment burden of borrowers with outstanding 
debt. We can find that number in the President's budget.
  The CBO did score the bill that Senator Warren introduced last 
Congress on which this amendment is based. The CBO projected that the 
government will make billions in profit--listen to this--from buying 
tens of billions worth of private student loans from banks and 
refinancing them at lower rates. They are going to buy up loans and 
then refinance those loans at lower rates, and somehow the way that 
scores is positive for the Federal Government? Wow. That is why we are 
talking about needing some changes in the way we do scoring around 
here. Think about that. If the government can make money from buying up 
private loans while charging the borrower a lower rate, why stop there? 
We can make trillions for the country.

  CBO, as well as leading academic economists and think tanks, all 
believe credit reform accounting is seriously flawed. They favor fair 
value accounting under which loans are valued at what they are worth to 
the private sector. Last year CBO showed that under fair value 
accounting, the Federal student loan portfolio does not make a big 
profit. It actually has a significant cost. One of the reasons for some 
of the high interest rates is that when the Affordable Care Act was 
passed, it set those rates higher so there would be revenue for the 
Affordable Care Act.
  I hope we will defeat this amendment and support the bipartisan King-
Burr proposal.
  I yield the floor.


                           Amendment No. 622

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to 
amendment No. 622, offered by the Senator from North Carolina, Mr. 
Burr.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I rise to urge my colleagues to support the 
Burr-King amendment No. 622, which creates a deficit-neutral reserve 
fund to reduce overlapping student loan repayment programs.
  The student repayment system is a mess right now. There are nine 
different alternatives and they are very confusing. Even the names are 
confusing. There is the income-based repayment, the income-contingent 
repayment, the income-sensitive repayment, and the pay-as-you-earn 
repayment. In other words, it is very complicated and it is one of the 
things that makes it confusing and hard for students.
  Senator Burr and I have introduced this amendment in order to 
simplify this decision. Basically we have taken suggestions from 
individuals--students, institutions, as well as the President--to 
simplify the loan repayment provision to reduce it to basically two 
options, a fixed repayment over 10 years or an income-related repayment 
over a longer period of time.
  I urge my colleagues to vote for this amendment. I believe it is an 
overdue simplification of this process, and I believe it will enable 
the students of America to deal with this issue in a more constructive 
way.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, we think the Burr-King amendment is a 
sensible, noncontroversial amendment, and I don't believe we have any 
objection to it on this side of the aisle.
  I suggest a voice vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there any further debate?
  Without any further debate, the question is on agreeing to the 
amendment.
  The amendment (No. 622) was agreed to.


                           Amendment No. 652

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There will now be 2 minutes of debate equally 
divided prior to a vote on amendment No. 652, offered by the Senator 
from Massachusetts, Ms. Warren.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, not seeing the Senator from 
Massachusetts, I will make this point: If there is an eminently 
sensible amendment to come before us, this is it. It addresses the 
crisis that exists all over this country where young people are 
graduating college deeply in debt and have that onerous debt around 
their necks for decades.
  This amendment simply gives these young people the opportunity to 
refinance their debts so they can substantially lower their student 
debt, and in some cases cut their student debt in half. It is hard for 
me to imagine how anybody could vote against an amendment as sensible 
as this amendment but so important to millions of families in this 
country who want to be able to send their kids to college and for the 
young people who want to graduate college without this oppressive debt.
  I strongly ask for a ``yes'' vote on this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, the proper way to do this is to consider the 
full bill and run it through committee and then the floor and not try 
to make policy in a budget resolution.
  I ask for a ``no'' vote.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I yield back any remaining time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded back.
  The question is on agreeing to the Warren amendment.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Texas (Mr. Cruz).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tillis). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 46, nays 53, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 86 Leg.]

                                YEAS--46

     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Boxer
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Hirono
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Reed
     Reid
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--53

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kirk
     Lankford
     Lee
     McCain

[[Page S1843]]


     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
       Cruz
       
  The amendment (No. 652) was rejected.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Thank you, Mr. President.
  Mr. President, the Federal budget is a pressing concern for everybody 
in this body, including myself, especially given the political climate 
we have in Congress. We have been two Houses divided for some time.
  Back in 2011, the Republican House and the Democratic Senate agreed 
that Federal spending was out of control. They just couldn't agree on 
what to do about it. So Members from both Chambers came together to 
give Congress two options: either pass a responsible budget to help 
reduce the deficit or face drastic cuts to every discretionary Federal 
department.
  That threat of sequester was supposed to represent the end of the 
road, forcing Congress to put differences aside and to work together, 
but sometimes even a dead end is not enough to motivate some folks to 
do the right thing. Congress failed to come up with a bipartisan, long-
term spending plan and sequestration went into effect 2 years ago.
  Sequestration has had devastating effects nationally and in my home 
State of Nevada. Take, for instance, sequestration's impact on our 
national forests. We have 17 million acres of national forest managed 
by the U.S. Forest Service. Under its current structure, the Forest 
Service uses the same pool of funds to manage our national forests that 
it does to fight wildfires. In bad fire years, suppression can use over 
40 percent of the U.S. Forest Service's budget. So it is no surprise 
that their budget is still in disarray 2 years after sequestration cuts 
$200 million during the hot, dry summer that saw millions of acres of 
trees burn across the West.
  Sequestration proved to be irresponsible and its impacts long-
lasting, and our forests weren't the own casualties. The Indian Country 
was slammed from education to health care, to infrastructure. Indian 
Health Service saw its budget cut by a similar amount. Health care in 
Indian Country is chronically underfunded anyway. The additional 5-
percent cut to the IHS budget resulted in 800,000 fewer outpatient 
visits for Native Americans. Indian schools--many of which are in such 
bad shape that nobody in this body would send their kids there--saw 
their budgets cut by $67 million, which resulted in bigger class size, 
cutbacks to academic programs, cutbacks to building maintenance, and 
reduction in technology upgrades. Sequestration was almost as 
devastating to the public education system in this country, and it had 
its impact on seniors and low-income children and families. It will be 
again if Congress doesn't act.
  Between now and September 30, Congress must pass a responsible budget 
that reduces our deficit, and we have time to agree on that or we will 
face greater cuts than we saw last time. The President's budget 
proposal makes significant investments in infrastructure and education 
and our outdoors. These initiatives will help grow our economy, 
particularly in rural States such as Montana, but there is one big 
problem. The President's budget fails to reduce the deficit in a smart 
and meaningful way, but the other options on the table are worse.
  The House last week unveiled its budget proposal. It is the height of 
irresponsibility. The House wants to privatize Medicare by turning it 
into a voucher program. It wants to turn Medicaid into block grants and 
cut those. They want to cut taxes for millionaires and big corporations 
while they phase out portions of the earned-income tax credit, 
squeezing the wallets of millions of working-class Americans. The 
House's plan also cuts the Pell Grant Program.
  It repeals the Affordable Care Act--that is no surprise. The House 
has voted over 50 times to repeal the ACA, ignoring the fact that we 
have some 16 million more Americans that have affordable access to 
health care than before the law was passed, but in a show of boundless 
hypocrisy, the House balances its budget by counting the $700 billion 
in Medicare savings and the $1 trillion in new revenue that the 
Affordable Care Act provides.
  Now some folks might say, well, that is the House of Representatives. 
Look at how they handled the funding for the Department of Homeland 
Security this year. They nearly shut down the agency tasked with 
protecting our borders and preventing terrorist attacks on America. The 
House gave up on responsible governing years ago. But the fact is the 
budget before us today in the Senate isn't much different. It repeals 
the Affordable Care Act, but again pretends to keep the $700 billion in 
savings to Medicare and the $1 trillion of revenue created by the 
Affordable Care Act--after it has been repealed. Now, I am a farmer, 
not an accountant, but I want to state that this is the kind of new 
math that doesn't add up to me.
  The Senate budget--similar to the House--also guts the Pell Grant 
Program by one-third. Why is that important? Well, in Montana, students 
are graduating from college with more than $27,000 in debt in student 
loans. The last thing they need are less Pell grants and more student 
debt, which is exactly what will happen if this Senate budget passes.
  It also puts States on the hook for over $1 trillion in Medicaid 
funding. What does that mean? It means we are not going to take care of 
it anymore. We are going to push it off on States and act like it 
doesn't exist. Just like the House, it raises taxes on the lowest wrung 
of the economic ladder by repealing the extension of the earned-income 
tax credit and child tax credit. These credits keep over 13 million 
Americans--working families with relatively low incomes--out of 
poverty.
  While this rhetoric about passing a balanced budget sounds good--and 
I do support a balanced budget--the reality is this budget doesn't cut 
it. It does not balance. Why? Because this budget relies on gimmicks 
such as using the Overseas Contingency Fund, which is supposed to fund 
the war on Afghanistan and action against ISIS but instead has become a 
slush fund for the Department of Defense. This budget assumes hundreds 
of billions of dollars in ``unallocated cuts.'' That is great 
messaging. We are going to slash the budget by hundreds of billions of 
dollars, but we are not going to tell you where we cut it out. We can 
talk about cuts, but when it gets to specifics--the real tough 
decisions--we are not going to talk about those. We are not even going 
to tell you where they are. It is not only secretive, but it is bad 
policy, and these kinds of smoke and mirrors are the worst Washington 
has to offer.
  While the President's budget spends far too much, at least it is 
honest, open, and transparent. The House and Senate budgets are just a 
display of bad mathematics. They lack any sort of realistic plan to 
keep our economy growing by investing in America. Instead of balancing 
the budget on the backs of middle-class families and seniors and 
students and our Nation's most vulnerable, we need to fully invest in 
the measures that will help this economy go, such as roads, bridges, 
our outdoor economy, education for our kids and our grandkids because 
that is the only way they are going to be able to compete in this 
global economy. In 2015, every nation is interconnected. Business 
transactions occur between multinational corporations, scientific 
discovery is shared between universities on different continents, clean 
air and clean water and carbon emission standards are achieved by 
international agreements, but global security seems to be a battle that 
we--the United States--are fighting alone--and at what cost?
  Last week, my Appropriations subcommittee on military construction 
held a hearing on the Defense Department's construction budget. The 
United States spends more on defense than the next nine nations 
combined. Let me say it one more time. The United States spends more on 
defense than the next nine nations combined, including the United 
Kingdom, Germany, India, and--yes--China. Two of America's greatest 
international threats, ISIS and a nuclear Iran, pose a grave threat to 
us but also to our allies in the Middle East and Europe. Yet we are the 
ones paying the overwhelming

[[Page S1844]]

majority of these costs. This budget hides those costs from the 
American people. With 47 Senators pushing us to go to war with Iran, I 
think the American people deserve to know how we are spending their 
dollars overseas.
  Do not misunderstand me. Congress's foremost concern should be with 
protecting our Nation and in keeping our communities safe, but that 
should also be the foremost concern of our allies around the world. 
Time and time again, though, it is the U.S. taxpayer and American lives 
who are on the line, and that price is far too high. It is not just 
dollars and cents. It is the lives of our kids. It is the wounds they 
will face when they return from war, if they return from war at all. 
These are pricetags we cannot afford.
  While we send our troops and our treasures overseas, our allies are 
free to invest significantly in more public education, health care, 
infrastructure, research and development, and lower taxes. Why? Because 
we are paying the bill. Their economies grow in relation to our 
deficit. As Congress looks to responsibly cut spending, we must look at 
the billions we waste overseas, and we need to level with the American 
people about the true cost of war. While caring for our veterans is a 
cost we absolutely should bear, we can no longer afford to fight and 
fund every international conflict. We have to stop paying for war on 
our children's credit.
  We need to think about the future and invest in public education, 
health care, and infrastructure, in sound forest management, and in 
lower taxes. A global economy and a global defense will allow us to 
invest in middle-class families, educating our children, protecting our 
seniors, and making sure Americans can afford food and shelter. These 
are investments we must make, but the budget before us stops investing 
in America.
  We can do better, and we must do better.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.


                           Amendment No. 601

  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, first, I ask unanimous consent to set 
aside the pending amendment and call up Bennet-Stabenow amendment No. 
601.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Michigan [Ms. Stabenow], for Mr. Bennet, 
     for himself and Ms. Stabenow, proposes an amendment numbered 
     601.

  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To create a point of order against legislation that would 
  privatize Medicare, cut guaranteed benefits, increase out-of-pocket 
        spending, or turn Medicare into a premium support plan)

       At the end of subtitle A of title IV, add the following:

     SEC. __. POINT OF ORDER AGAINST LEGISLATION THAT WOULD 
                   PRIVATIZE MEDICARE, CUT GUARANTEED BENEFITS, 
                   INCREASE OUT-OF-POCKET SPENDING, OR TURN 
                   MEDICARE INTO A PREMIUM SUPPORT PLAN.

       (a) Point of Order.--It shall not be in order in the Senate 
     to consider any bill, joint resolution, motion, amendment, 
     amendment between the Houses, or conference report that 
     would--
       (1) privatize or change the Medicare program under title 
     XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.) 
     into a system that provides a payment either to pay for or 
     offset private plan premiums or the traditional fee-for-
     service Medicare program;
       (2) result in a reduction of guaranteed benefits for 
     individuals entitled to, or enrolled for, benefits under the 
     Medicare program; or
       (3) increase out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs 
     or preventive services under the Medicare program.
       (b) Waiver and Appeal.--Subsection (a) may be waived or 
     suspended in the Senate only by an affirmative vote of three-
     fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn. An affirmative 
     vote of three-fifths of the Members of the Senate, duly 
     chosen and sworn, shall be required to sustain an appeal of 
     the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under 
     subsection (a).

  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, Medicare turns 50 years old this year. 
This is not the time to turn our back on Medicare and the universal 
nature of Medicare. We all understand and are confident that after 
paying into the system year after year or turning age 65 or meeting the 
other qualifications that we have means that health care will be 
available to everyone, regardless of where you live, regardless of who 
you are.
  Medicare is a great American success story. Before Medicare became 
law, only half of Americas who were 65 years of age or older had any 
type of health insurance. They could not find health insurance. Those 
who found health insurance were paying through the roof to be able to 
get that insurance. Often times they were paying--they lacked coverage 
for surgery or health expenses that occurred outside the hospital. You 
could have one single surgery or illness and be totally wiped out.
  So our country came together and said: We are going to make sure that 
for seniors in this country, health care will be available to everyone. 
We have done that. It is extremely successful. I am very, very 
concerned about what this budget does to Medicare, as well as the 
budget in the House of Representatives. First of all, let me say that 
there is no question that Medicare, as with every other public program, 
was designed to improve and evolve and be strengthened and add new 
things--certainly for the security of future generations.
  That is why the prescription drug bill was passed. That is why the 
Affordable Care Act--we took even better steps forward to make sure 
there were no gaps in coverage under prescription drugs. Seniors today 
are spending thousands of dollars less out of pocket to get critically 
needed medicines than they did before the Affordable Care Act. They now 
have no out-of-pocket costs for annual wellness visits or for other 
prevention.
  Now, in this bill that is undermined in two different ways. First of 
all, there is the Affordable Care Act, which 16.4 million people are 
now using to get health care for themselves and their families, and 
most of them, by the way, are people who could not afford health care 
in the past, just as seniors could not 50 years ago. All of them will 
lose their health care under this budget, the House and the Senate 
budget. The changes that we made to improve prescription drug coverage 
and lower the costs to seniors will be gone. That was part of the ACA. 
There are the changes to protect people, to be able to know that when 
they have insurance, they are going to be covered when they get sick 
and not dropped. If they are sick, if they have a serious disease, they 
can still get insurance even if they have a preexisting condition. All 
of the things in the Affordable Care Act are gone under this budget.
  Now, interestingly, and as the distinguished Senator from Montana 
said, all of the revenue raised under the Affordable Care Act stays in 
this bill. So they keep the money, but they take away your medical 
care. To add insult to injury, because actually repealing the 
Affordable Care Act increases the deficit, the Affordable Care Act is 
exempted from the point of order that is required in the budget when an 
action actually increases the deficit.
  So then you add to that what is being done in Medicare. The House 
cuts $150 billion from Medicare for senior citizens, by moving away 
from what has been the foundation of Medicare--which is a guaranteed 
benefit. You pay in, and it is a guaranteed benefit. They turn it into 
something they call premium support.
  The Senate proposes even more than that--$434 billion in cuts to 
Medicare over the next 10 years. They are not specified, but they are 
using the same kind of language that relates to the security of the 
program and issues that in the past have been called vouchers--or some 
other change that all ends up in the same place, which is cutting 
Medicare.
  Our children, our grandchildren know that grandpas and grandmas, 
aunts and uncles, and moms and dads right now have health care because 
of this wonderful American success story called Medicare. It is 
seriously undermined in this budget. I would urge my colleagues to come 
together and send a clear message that we stand together in a 
bipartisan way to continue to support Medicare and say: Hands off the 
Medicare program and the promise made to our seniors now and to those 
in the future.
  The Bennet-Stabenow amendment would create a point of order against 
legislation and would require a supermajority vote on anything that 
would privatize Medicare, would cut guaranteed benefits, increase out-
of-pocket

[[Page S1845]]

spending or use premium support schemes to undermine the fundamental 
nature of what Medicare is.
  Now, I also find it quite extraordinary that in the House budget, 
which is more specific, when the Affordable Care Act health exchanges 
are eliminated, two pages later in their budget, they create health 
exchanges for Medicare. Some would say: ObamaCare and Medicare.
  This is a very strange debate we are having on health care. So we 
want to make it very clear: Hands off Medicare. Hands off Medicare. 
Whether you are trying to privatize it in some way, turn it over to 
private insurance companies, vouchers, cut guaranteed benefits, 
increase out-of-pocket costs, use what has been called premium support 
schemes to undermine Medicare's universal nature of what it is, stop 
it. Hands off Medicare.
  That is what we need to be doing in this budget. I hope colleagues 
will come together and vote for the Bennet-Stabenow amendment to 
guarantee that happens.


                           Amendment No. 755

  Mr. President, I have a second amendment that is a side-by-side 
amendment for the Barrasso amendment that will be called up later. I 
have been asked also to move forward on that amendment as well.
  I ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call 
up Stabenow amendment No. 755.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Michigan [Ms. Stabenow] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 755.

  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
 keeping the Federal Water Pollution Control Act focused on protection 
 of water quality, to establish bright lines for Federal jurisdiction, 
 and to create clear and unambiguous exemptions for features that the 
 Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency or the Secretary 
of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, claim they are not 
                          seeking to regulate)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO THE 
                   PROTECTION OF CLEAN WATER USING SCIENTIFIC 
                   STANDARDS WHILE MAINTAINING THE TRADITIONAL 
                   ROLE OF AGRICULTURE.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to protecting watersheds, including the Great Lakes, 
     Chesapeake Bay, the Mississippi River system, the Colorado 
     River system, or other sources of drinking water of the 
     United States, which may include clarifying the scope of the 
     Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) 
     to provide certainty for landowners or rural communities, or 
     preserving existing exemptions for agriculture, ranching, or 
     forestry, or to rely on the scientific evidence of impacts on 
     water quality of different types of water bodies by the 
     amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.

  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, obviously, I care very passionately 
about Medicare and about health care, and I believe strongly that this 
is a fundamental right of every American. We do not decide when we are 
going to get sick. We do not decide when our children are going to get 
sick or what is going to happen to us as it relates to our health.
  But another important part of health relates to the ability to have 
clean, drinkable water. The Clean Water Act has been a vital tool for 
promoting the health and livelihood--the economy--of Americans for the 
past 40 years. In fact, according to the EPA, the Clean Water Act has 
kept tens of billions of pounds of sewage and chemicals and trash out 
of our waterways. It has helped double the number of American waters 
that meet standards for fishing and swimming. I can tell you that in 
Michigan, we love the Great Lakes. They are in our DNA. The ability to 
fish, the ability to swim--in fact, we have a $7 billion fishing 
industry, in which my family has been a proud participant, and a $16 
billion recreational boating industry. The jobs of more than 800,000 
residents are supported by the economic asset of our Great Lakes, and 
we want to make sure the Clean Water Act is strong.
  Now, we also are very proud of agriculture in Michigan. We have more 
diversity of crops than any other State in the country other than 
California. We are working on that. So we are able to do that, in part, 
because of the abundance of water, frankly. Unlike friends in other 
States, the issues around water--clean abundance of water for 
agriculture, for ranchers, for forests, for farmers--have not been 
issues for us. We certainly want to keep it that way.
  Now, last year the EPA proposed a rule to define the waters of the 
United States, basically to clarify two different Supreme Court 
rulings--one in 2001. After that ruling in 2001, the former 
administration, the Bush administration, began working on a rule to 
clarify this question of the waters and regulating the waters of the 
United States.
  Then there was an even more complicated, confusing decision. I never 
thought you could actually have five different decisions out of a nine-
member Supreme Court. But that is what happened. We ended up with even 
more confusion in 2006. So both administrations--the Bush 
administration and the Obama administration--understood, as does 
everyone, that we have to fix this. We have to clarify this, for 
farmers and ranchers and for citizens and communities. I started in 
county government. I understand for local governments how important 
that is as well.
  So the rule that is before us now--the proposed rule--has been 
debated for over 200 days, including 400 public meetings and over one 
million comments. I am not sure that is a record, but it is pretty 
close--87 percent of which have been positive to moving forward. Now, 
the proposal was not meant to target agriculture, but it has led to a 
lot of legitimate questions in my mind about the standing of 
agriculture's historic exemption under the clean water regulations.
  So my amendment would help to clarify agriculture's role, while 
maintaining important clean water protections. This is very important. 
We can do both. We need to do both. We need to make clear the historic 
role in agriculture as it relates to separate actions from the Clean 
Water Act, and we also need to have a Clean Water Act. So this would 
establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that would 
ensure that the Clean Water Act is focused on protecting water quality, 
upholds existing exemptions in the Clean Water Act for agriculture and 
ranching that have existed for decades.
  Our farmers and ranchers deserve to have the certainty of getting 
this done and having it done right and knowing that what has been going 
on for decades for them will be the law of the land. It also ensures we 
rely on scientific evidence as we examine the impact that water quality 
has on the different types of water bodies, and it provides certainty--
as I said before--to landowners in rural communities regarding the 
scope of the Clean Water Act.
  We had an important hearing on that yesterday in the Agriculture 
Committee. Clearly, we need to provide that certainty for our farmers 
and our ranchers. Now, unfortunately, my colleague from Wyoming has an 
amendment that appears to attempt to address this, but it is overly 
broad and, frankly, unclear. It does not even mention agriculture. It 
does not mention the historic exemptions of agriculture, ranching, and 
forestry. It does not mention rural communities that may be affected.
  So I do not believe that is the direction this Senate should go. We 
need to be clear. We do not need more confusion; we need less 
confusion. So my amendment clarifies the scope of any changes made to 
the Clean Water Act so that exemptions important to agriculture are 
maintained. The Barrasso amendment, unfortunately, would also roll back 
efforts to protect the health of the Great Lakes. All of us who 
represent the Great Lakes should be concerned about that--and the 
Chesapeake Bay, the Mississippi River system, the Colorado River system 
and so many other systems around the country and all our sources of 
drinking water for the United States.
  I would encourage colleagues, when this comes up, to vote no on the 
Barrasso amendment, to vote yes on the

[[Page S1846]]

Stabenow amendment, and to make it clear that we support the Clean 
Water Act, we support decisions being made based on science, and we 
also want to make sure that the historic relationship with agriculture 
and the Clean Water Act is maintained.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.


                           Amendment No. 350

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendments and call up my amendment No. 350.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Missouri [Mr. Blunt] for himself and Mr. 
     Thune, proposes an amendment numbered 350.

  Mr. BLUNT. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment 
be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To create a point of order against legislation that would 
            create a Federal tax or fee on carbon emissions)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. POINT OF ORDER AGAINST LEGISLATION THAT WOULD 
                   CREATE A TAX OR FEE ON CARBON EMISSIONS.

       (a) Point of Order.--It shall not be in order in the Senate 
     to consider any bill, joint resolution, motion, amendment, or 
     conference report that--
       (1) would result in revenues that would be greater than the 
     level of revenues set forth for the first fiscal year or the 
     total of that fiscal year and the ensuing fiscal years under 
     the concurrent resolution on the budget then in effect for 
     which allocations are provided under section 302(a) of the 
     Congressional Budget Act of 1974; and
       (2) for any year covered by such resolution, includes a 
     Federal tax or fee imposed on carbon emissions from any 
     product or entity that is a direct or indirect source of the 
     emissions.
       (b) Waiver and Appeal.--
       (1) Waiver.--Subsection (a) may be waived or suspended in 
     the Senate only by an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the 
     Members, duly chosen and sworn.
       (2) Appeal.--An affirmative vote of three-fifths of the 
     Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be 
     required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a 
     point of order raised under subsection (a).

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I rise today in support of this amendment. 
This amendment is designed to create a point of order against a carbon 
tax.
  This point of order would protect American families and workers from 
attacks on carbon, and attacks on their utility bills, attacks on 
things that are absolutely essential for families--and for 
opportunities for families as we look at utilities and energy.
  A carbon tax would increase the cost on energy. It would kill jobs as 
it increased the cost on energy, and make life for families more 
difficult than it needs to be.
  At a time when we are struggling to see our economy move forward, 
families and job creators in Missouri and across the country need to be 
able to continue to count on affordable and abundant energy resources.
  We have tremendous opportunities and more American energy. We need to 
use that in a way that benefits families and benefits the future.
  According to a 2013 Congressional Budget Office report, a tax of 
about $21 per metric ton on carbon would raise the price of electricity 
by an average of about 16 percent in the country. In the State of 
Missouri, my State, it would increase, according to that 2013 CBO 
report, the utility bill by 27 percent.
  We are more coal dependent than many of our States, but apparently if 
the average in the United States is 16 percent, all you have to do is 
add that to your utility bill to see what kind of problem that creates 
for a bill that, in many cases, families are struggling to pay already.
  Twenty-seven percent in the fifth most coal-dependent State, 
Missouri, where 82 percent of our electricity comes from coal, adds a 
huge and new burden that wouldn't be there otherwise as people try to 
respond to this decision that the government could make to decide to 
make it impossible to have the kinds of utilities that are now 
available to families.
  The National Association of Manufacturers, in that same year, 2013, 
found that a carbon tax would lead to a loss of worker income and, in 
fact, would lead to the loss of jobs--the equivalent of about 1.3 
million to 1.5 million jobs in the first year and as many as 21 million 
jobs by 2053.
  Now, more than ever, we need to send a clear message to the Obama 
administration that we don't support a carbon tax as the administration 
moves forward with regulations that, in fact, would have exactly the 
same impact a carbon tax would have.
  The Congress has said no repeatedly, privately, publicly, over and 
over again, to a carbon tax, but it doesn't seem to slow down the 
constant desire to look at a regulation that could produce the same 
thing. These regulations are regressive, they have the most negative 
impact on families that are struggling to pay their utility bill now, 
they have a negative impact on the elderly, they have a negative impact 
on people on fixed incomes, and they have a negative impact on public 
institutions such as schools and hospitals.
  There is nobody but the ratepayer, the person who gets the utility 
bill--you and I, when we get our utility bill, everybody whom we know 
who gets a utility bill--there is nobody to pay that utility bill but 
them. These costs are passed along by the laws of every State. There is 
no mythical utility company that is going to absorb these new costs if 
we allow them to happen.
  The recently proposed clean power plan would, under section 111 of 
the Clean Air Act, act as a tax on energy by making affordable and 
reliable means of electricity, such as coal-fired and natural gas-fired 
plants, more expensive.
  Also, it would take plants that clearly had lots of life left in them 
and somebody has to pay for them. If those plants aren't usable, they 
don't go away. Somebody still has to pay the bill, and the somebody is 
everybody who gets a utility bill.
  These costs go directly to ratepayers, they go directly to consumers, 
and they have a real negative impact on the kinds of things we should 
be looking for--ways to have a positive impact. These costs ripple 
through our economy. They inflict damage on consumers at all levels.
  We saw what happened when gas prices went down just a little bit. The 
decline in gas prices, with the opportunity we see now with more 
American energy, suddenly families felt as though they had the first 
increase that many families have had in the last 6 or 7 years, where 
incomes have been flat but outgo has been on the increase. When you saw 
gas prices go down, suddenly people were able to do things they 
couldn't do before: one more meal out a week, newer shoes quicker than 
you thought you might get newer shoes for your kids or yourself.
  Those things begin to happen. But if you increase the utility bill by 
17 percent or 27 percent or more than that--if all of your utilities 
come from coal right now, your utility bill is going to go up higher 
than that if we go in this direction.
  A carbon tax would have the same impact. The similarities are clear. 
They are so clear, in fact, that under the so-called Clean Power Act, 
regional authorities and States were supposed to come up with their own 
plan as to how to implement it.
  One regional transmission organization, the PJM Interconnection, 
simply created an explicit price for carbon in the models it was using. 
Whether the administration calls it a carbon tax or not, everybody who 
looks at how they are going to provide utilities knows that is exactly 
what it is.
  If we want to grow our economy, we need to increase rather than 
decrease. We need to encourage rather than discourage access to low-
cost, abundant, available fuels, and find the cleanest possible way to 
use those fuels.
  We have seen great progress in this direction. We need to be doing 
things that encourage that progress to occur rather than things that 
will absolutely and with certainty increase utility bills for families 
and decrease job opportunities for young people.
  I encourage my colleagues to support this amendment that will make a 
difference. I am certainly grateful that my friend Senator Thune, the 
chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, is 
cosponsoring this amendment with me.
  I urge my colleagues to support its adoption.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.

[[Page S1847]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I wish to try to, as we are about halfway 
through the budget debate, summarize where we are and the very clear 
differences that exist between my Republican colleagues and those of us 
on this side. I think if the American people pay attention, the 
differences are very clear.
  What some of us are trying to do is to take a hard look at the very 
serious problems facing our Nation and do our best to come up with 
sensible solutions to those problems. I think that is what the budget 
process should be about. What are the problems facing this country? 
What are the best solutions that we go forward with?
  But, already, we have strong disagreements as to how we even look at 
the problems facing the country. From my perspective, and I think from 
the perspective, quite honestly, of the vast majority of the American 
people, the major economic problem we face is a disappearing middle 
class.
  The good news is that compared to where we were 6\1/2\ years ago, we 
have made significant progress. I think most Americans remember that 
after the Wall Street crash--caused by the greed, recklessness, and 
illegal behavior on Wall Street--that at that point, as President Bush 
was leaving office, we were hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month. That is 
hard to imagine, 800,000 jobs a month.
  My Republican colleagues and I would agree and say the job creation 
now is not as strong as it should be. Fair enough. I wish to see more 
than 200,000 jobs a month being created. But no one will deny that 
200,000 jobs a month being created is a heck of a lot better than 
losing 800,000 jobs a month, which is where we were when President Bush 
left office.
  My Republican friends say the deficit is too high. I think they have 
a point. It is about $483 billion, a very high deficit. But I hope no 
one denies that a $483 billion deficit is a heck of a lot less than the 
$1.3 trillion deficit that existed when President Bush left office.
  When President Bush left office, the financial system not only in 
America but all over the world was teetering on collapse. We learned 
later, actually, that economists literally believed the system would 
collapse. If you put your credit card into the ATM machine, nothing 
comes out. That is where we were 6\1/2\ years ago.
  Today, for better or worse, the stock market is soaring and the 
financial system today seems reasonably solid. No one denies it is a 
lot better than it was 6\1/2\ years ago.
  So we have made some progress despite, I must say, consistent 
Republican obstructionism, but we have made some progress. But I would 
be the first to agree, with my Republican friends or anybody else, that 
we are not anywhere near where we should be.
  Unemployment has gone down. The official unemployment rate is about 
5\1/2\ right now. But let me tell you, the official unemployment rate 
is not the real unemployment rate. When you include those people who 
have been given up looking for work and those who are looking for part 
time, real unemployment in this country today is about 11 percent. 
Youth unemployment--which we never talk about, but it is a very serious 
problem--is about 17 percent. African-American youth unemployment, 
which we never talk about, is much higher than that.
  So what we are trying to do, as we look out and we recognize a 
problem that says--the American people tell us in every poll I have 
seen that their most serious issue is jobs and wages. How do we create 
jobs? How do those jobs pay us a decent wage?
  Does anyone disagree with that? I don't think so. That is the issue. 
So what have we tried to do in this process? What we on this side have 
tried to do is say: OK, how do we create jobs? What is the fastest way 
we can create the millions of jobs our country and our economy need?
  What economists tell us is the fastest way to create jobs is through 
investment in our infrastructure.
  Does anybody, any Republican, Democrat, progressive, conservative, 
disagree that our infrastructure is in a state of terrible disrepair--
that is, our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our wastewater 
plants, our airports, our rail systems, our levees, our dams. I don't 
think there is any disagreement.
  What the experts tell us--and I speak as a former mayor and concur 
with the experts--is that when you delay work on infrastructure, it 
only gets worse. If you do not rebuild a crumbling road, it gets worse. 
If you do not rebuild a decaying water system, it becomes worse and 
more expensive to repair.

  So what have we said here on this side? What we have said is, let's 
not kick this can down the road, which we have done for many years. 
Let's acknowledge the problem, and let's make serious investments in 
infrastructure--rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges and rail 
systems and water plants and wastewater plants, et cetera. That is what 
we have said. And we brought forth an amendment, which I offered, which 
would create some 9 million jobs in rebuilding our crumbling 
infrastructure--9 million jobs over a period of 6 years. I think the 
way we paid for that $478 billion investment makes sense to most 
Americans, who understand we have major corporation after major 
corporation that pays zero in Federal income taxes because they take 
advantage of absurd loopholes--loopholes that allow them to invest 
their money and put their money in the Cayman Islands, in Bermuda, in 
Luxembourg, and in other tax havens and pay nothing in Federal income 
taxes. So we have said: Let's repeal those loopholes. Let's raise the 
revenue we need. Let's invest it in the infrastructure. In the process, 
let's create millions of decent-paying jobs. I would say that is a 
sensible response to the job crisis.
  In terms of income and wages, I think everybody or almost everybody 
understands that the Federal minimum wage today of $7.25 an hour is 
literally a starvation wage. It has to be raised. What we are trying to 
do on our side is to raise the minimum wage, and I will have an 
amendment to do that.
  We are trying to deal with the serious inequities regarding pay 
differentiation in America between male and female workers. Women 
workers are making 78 cents an hour compared to the wages paid to men. 
That makes no sense. We brought forth an amendment--Senator Mikulski 
brought forth an amendment to bring pay equity. That is an important 
issue.
  We are also going to fight for reform of overtime rules so that 
people who are making $25,000 a year--so-called supervisors at 
McDonald's or Burger King--are not earning time and a half despite the 
fact they are working 50 to 60 hours a week.
  So those are a few of the issues we are trying to focus on--creating 
jobs and raising wages. I have to say, unhappily, that my Republican 
colleagues have not been supportive of those efforts. What they have 
been absolutely persistent about is doing anything to cut Medicare, cut 
Medicaid, cut education, and cut nutrition. They will do anything other 
than ask the wealthiest people in this country, who are doing 
phenomenally well, the largest corporations, which are enjoying 
recordbreaking profits--they will do anything to prevent those groups 
from paying more in taxes even if it means massive cuts to programs 
working families desperately depend upon.


                           Amendment No. 777

  Mr. President, with that, at this point, I ask unanimous consent that 
the pending amendment be set aside and call up amendment No. 777.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Vermont [Mr. Sanders], for himself and Mr. 
     Whitehouse, proposes an amendment numbered 777.

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to recognize that 
 climate change is real and caused by human activity and that Congress 
             needs to take action to cut carbon pollution)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

[[Page S1848]]

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO CUTTING 
                   CARBON POLLUTION TO PREVENT HUMAN-INDUCED 
                   CLIMATE CHANGE.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to protecting Americans from the impacts of human-
     induced climate change, which may include action on policies 
     that reduce emissions by the amounts that the scientific 
     community says are needed to avert catastrophic climate 
     change, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes by the amounts provided in such legislation for 
     those purposes, provided that such legislation would not 
     increase the deficit over either the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.


                           Amendment No. 356

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up the amendment I am offering, which is 
amendment No. 356.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kansas [Mr. Moran], for himself, Ms. 
     Collins, and Mr. King, proposes an amendment numbered 356.

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
providing health care to veterans who reside more than 40 miles driving 
    distance from the closest medical facility of the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs that provides the care sought by the veteran)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

     SEC. 3__. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO PROVIDING 
                   HEALTH CARE TO VETERANS WHO HAVE GEOGRAPHIC 
                   INACCESSIBILITY TO CARE.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to providing health care to veterans who reside more 
     than 40 miles driving distance from the closest medical 
     facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs that provides 
     the care sought by the veteran, by the amounts provided in 
     such legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I would remind the Presiding Officer of the 
hearing we had yesterday dealing with veterans affairs and the 
opportunity we had to discuss the implementation of something we now 
refer to as the choice act.
  One of the successes and, in my view, one of the few successes we had 
last term--in fact, with Senator Sanders being on the floor as well--
was the passage of the choice act. That legislation was Congress 
responding to scandal within the Department of Veterans Affairs--the 
fraudulent wait lists, the lack of services available to veterans who 
were waiting, and a number of veterans falling through the cracks. 
Congress responded and passed legislation now referred to as the choice 
act.
  What that choice act said in simple terms is that if you are a 
veteran and you are unable to receive the services you need from the 
Department of Veterans Affairs within 30 days or if you are a veteran 
who lives more than 40 miles from a VA facility, the choice act allows 
you--in fact, requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide 
you with services at home if you so choose. It is your choice.
  That bill was passed by Congress in August of 2014, signed by the 
President in September, implemented since then beginning in November, 
and it is now March of 2015. What we have discovered during that period 
of implementation is there are a number of pitfalls by which veterans 
are not receiving the care we indicated they would receive following 
the passage of that legislation. A lot of that problem is related to 
the 40-mile provision. Again, if you live more than 40 miles from a VA 
facility, the law says the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide 
you with service, if you so choose, with a local provider.
  A couple of things have happened. The interpretation by the 
Department of Veterans Affairs of a couple of provisions has precluded 
a significant number, in my view, of veterans from being able to 
utilize this choice program.
  Yesterday, the Department of Veterans Affairs, to their own credit, 
decided that they had been interpreting the law incorrectly. That 
provision related to as the crow flies, meaning that the 40 miles was 
to be computed as the crow flies, and that was the way the VA 
determined they were required to interpret that provision. Yesterday, 
the Department of Veterans Affairs decided they had the authority to 
really make that 40 miles highway miles. So if you happen to live on 
one side of a lake or one side of a mountain, it is no longer as the 
crow flies. That is a piece of good news.
  But here is the issue I have raised numerous times, and here is the 
issue that still remains a problem for many veterans. I smile when I 
say this because there are not many lakes in Kansas and there are no 
mountains in Kansas, so ``as the crow flies'' is not a significant 
issue to most Kansans as it is in many other places in the country. But 
yesterday's decision by the Department does increase the number of 
veterans who may qualify for the choice act.
  Among other things, what is still missing is the idea of a facility 
within 40 miles. The problem is this: The Department of Veterans 
Affairs has interpreted and continues to interpret that to mean even 
though there is a VA facility within the 40 miles that does not provide 
the service the veteran needs, it is still a facility within 40 miles, 
and thus the veteran will be required to transport themselves to a 
hospital 2, 3, 4 hours away.
  I have said this before on the Senate floor. As a House Member before 
coming to the Senate, I represented a congressional district made up of 
tens of thousands of square miles, larger than the State of Illinois. 
There is no VA hospital within that congressional district. We worked 
hard to create outpatient clinics where routine services could be 
provided closer to home for those veterans. Now we are saying: If you 
can't access the care that is more than 40 miles from your home, the VA 
is going to give you the option of seeing your hometown doctor, being 
admitted to your hometown hospital. But here is one of the problems: If 
there is an outpatient clinic within that 40 miles, even though it 
doesn't provide the service you as a veteran need, the VA says you 
don't qualify for the choice act.
  I am of the view that they have the ability to interpret that law 
differently. They say it takes a legislative change. I am not sure 
there is a lot of value in continuing to have the debate about who is 
right about that. What I do know is there are many veterans in Kansas 
and across the country who are not receiving the services promised by 
the choice act because there is an outpatient clinic within the 40 
miles, but it doesn't provide the service they need.
  To give folks an understanding of what I am talking about, most 
outpatient clinics don't provide colonoscopies. So we have a veteran 
who needs a colonoscopy. The VA is to provide that service. Yet, in the 
case of where I come from, my hometown, the VA hospital is 3 hours away 
and the outpatient clinic is half an hour away, and because there is an 
outpatient clinic half an hour away, that veteran can't utilize the 
choice act. But the outpatient clinic doesn't provide colonoscopies, so 
that veteran is told by the VA that he or she has to drive the 3 hours 
to the hospital in Wichita to get the colonoscopy. Well, there is a 
community hospital within that area, within that veteran's hometown 
that provides colonoscopy.
  That situation is what the choice act was designed to accomplish--
service provided at home. So this amendment creates a deficit-neutral 
reserve fund that requires the VA to utilize its current authorities to 
offer community care to veterans who are currently unable to receive 
the health care services they need from a VA medical facility within 40 
miles of where they live because the facility they have won't or can't 
provide the services they need.

[[Page S1849]]

  This is something we ought to be able to resolve. This amendment is 
widely supported.
  There is legislation--S. 207--which I have introduced and which has 
many cosponsors, Republicans and Democrats, and we will continue to 
push this legislation. In fact, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs has 
indicated they will not only have the hearing we had yesterday on this 
topic, but also the chairman and the ranking member and their staffs 
will work over the recess to get this legislation front and center in 
our committee and, presumably, on the Senate floor.
  This amendment is cosponsored by Senator Collins and Senator King of 
Maine. Senator Tester, Senator Blunt, Senator Toomey, Senator Hoeven, 
and Senator Vitter--Republicans and Democrats from States across the 
country--realize this is something which needs to be resolved.
  While I believe the Department of Veterans Affairs should resolve 
this, they haven't. While the Department of Veterans Affairs believes 
Congress should resolve this, we haven't. What I do know is veterans 
who are entitled to care are not receiving it, and, in a sense, false 
promises were made until we get this issue corrected and the VA then 
implements the choice act as intended.
  This is an important issue. I would say to my colleagues, 
particularly those who served in the Senate with me in the last 4 
years, in my view, we haven't accomplished much in those 4 years, but 
one of the areas in which we did come together and did pass significant 
legislation was the choice act. Now we need to make certain that 
accomplishment results in those who are entitled to those benefits 
receiving them.
  Who, I would ask, in this country would we expect to have the best 
quality health care? Who would we expect? I think it would be those who 
served our country--our military men and women, those who retired and 
became veterans. And I would say that the employees and Members of 
Congress have the opportunity of choosing a hospital or a doctor, and 
our veterans ought to have the same opportunity.
  Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity to explain this 
amendment. I ask for support when it is considered during the budget 
consideration. I would ask my colleagues to join me in cosponsoring the 
underlying legislation that will follow.
  I thank my colleagues on the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
particularly the chairman, the Senator from Georgia, Mr. Isakson, and 
the ranking member, the Senator from Connecticut, Mr. Blumenthal, for 
their commitment to seeing that this is accomplished.
  I appreciate the opportunity to explain one more time why this is 
something of significance and how the quality of life of our veterans 
is affected not because we don't want to care for them but because we 
lack common sense to implement a law when we know how it should work, 
we know what it should say, and yet we are impeded from accomplishing 
what matters so much. This is not a Republican issue; this is not a 
Democratic issue; this is an American issue that mostly calls for 
common sense.
  With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, we are engaged in an annual ritual on the 
floor of the Senate--the budget resolution.
  The budget resolution comes to the floor, and Senator Enzi of Wyoming 
and Senator Sanders of Vermont lead the effort to debate the budget 
resolution. This is not a law because it is never sent to the 
President. It is something passed by the House and the Senate that kind 
of says: The President told us we couldn't spend anything more than X; 
we will tell you how we would spend it. It always is different from 
what the President suggested. So we get into a debate about how we are 
going to spend our Federal budget.
  That is what a budget resolution is all about, and we have to make 
choices--just as families make choices when it comes to things they buy 
for their families and for their homes.
  So I will talk about an amendment I am going to offer which gives us 
a choice.
  First, today on Capitol Hill we have visitors walking the corridors 
wearing purple sashes. If we look closely, written on those sashes it 
says Alzheimer's Association. It is not unusual for us to get visits 
from people who are interested in medical issues--cancer, diabetes, 
Alzheimer's. The list goes on. They come here basically with very 
fundamental requests: Can you find more research dollars to help us 
find a cure? Can you provide support to the families who are facing 
this disease? I have faced that so many times as a Congressman and as a 
Senator.
  I use this as an illustration, because Alzheimer's is a disease and 
an issue which is becoming more dominant in America. I am about to 
state a statistic which I didn't believe when I heard it, and I went 
back and checked and double checked, and it is true. I have spoken on 
the floor here about 3 minutes. In that 3-minute period of time, three 
Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. One American is 
diagnosed with Alzheimer's every 68 seconds in America. It is a disease 
which is starting to gallop across our Nation and affect more and more 
families. It is expensive, costly--costly, of course, to the victim who 
loses touch with the people they love and the life they want to lead; 
costly, too, to the caregivers--the children, the spouses, and others--
who turn their lives around and start to care for the person with 
Alzheimer's.
  Last year in America we spent $200 billion on Medicare and Medicaid 
for Alzheimer's victims, and, sadly, the projection is that in just a 
few years, we are going to see this figure surpass $1 trillion. It will 
literally eat up the Medicare and Medicaid programs as we know them. 
That is one disease, but it is one that is so serious that we have to 
take it seriously.
  I can speak in personal terms--and I bet everyone can--about cancer, 
what it has meant to my family, what it means to families all across 
America.
  Here is what it gets down to: Will we make a decision as a nation to 
make the right investment in biomedical research? We have the best 
biomedical research agency in the world--the National Institutes of 
Health. Nobody questions that. The Centers for Disease Control is right 
by its side in the work that it does. The Department of Defense, 
Veterans Administration, even the Department of Energy, all do work in 
relation to medical research and medical technology.
  So the question that is posed to us--to this generation of Senators 
sitting on the floor--is this: Are we going to do further research in 
areas that can cure disease, alleviate human suffering, and, yes, 
reduce the cost to the government?
  I have found this is the most bipartisan issue in the world. I have 
been all over Illinois, and we have a lot of Republicans, Democrats, 
and Independents. When I stop to talk about biomedical research, 
everybody is on board. The mother with the diabetic son, the father 
with a wife suffering from some form of cancer--they are all on board, 
they are listening. And they should.
  What I will offer as an amendment here is generally just a marker. It 
doesn't mean that medical research will be enhanced or grow in size, 
but it basically puts us on record as to whether the United States 
Senate believes that we should invest additional money into biomedical 
research.
  Why should we put more money into it? I went out to the National 
Institutes of Health. There is a doctor out there named Dr. Francis 
Collins. I think he is one of the best. Francis Collins, back in 1988--
if I am not mistaken--was given the task of mapping the human genome. I 
am a liberal arts lawyer, so I am lost. The human genome has something 
to do with our DNA and tells the people who research it a lot about us 
and diseases we are likely or not likely to have. So they mapped the 
human genome, which took years to do, and with that information they 
are making giant strides now in finding cures for diseases and 
breakthroughs and identifying some of these issues.
  We all read about Angelina Jolie and what she is going through with 
her fear of cancer. It is based on a family history, medical advice, 
and, yes, something that has been found in her DNA through the human 
genome project that leads her to be more sensitive and worried about 
her own health. She is a

[[Page S1850]]

famous actress, and that is why we pay close attention. But it applies 
to families across the board.
  Here is the point I am getting to. We are falling behind in 
biomedical research. In the last 10 years we have lost 23 percent of 
our spending power to fund medical research. That means that, 10 years 
ago, one out of every three promising research projects was funded. 
Today, it is one out of six. I don't need to tell the Senator from 
Maryland, Mr. Cardin, because NIH is in his State, and he knows what 
they do and he knows the researchers and Dr. Collins.
  I went to Dr. Collins, and I said to him: What can we in the Congress 
do to help you find cures for diseases?
  Senator, he said, it is very basic: Give us 5-percent real growth in 
our appropriation for 10 straight years--5 percent over inflation. Give 
me that, Senator, and I promise you--I promise you, we will pay for it 
over and over in saving money on medical treatment, in alleviating the 
suffering of disease that we face in this country.
  That is what I am trying to do. The American Cures Act is legislation 
I put in to do that.
  Well, what will it cost, Senator? It is easy to come up with some 
idea on the floor that is going to cost a lot of money and not pay for 
it. What will it cost us?
  Over a 10-year period of time, a 5-percent real growth increase in 
NIH, CDC, and the other departments I mentioned, over a 10-year period 
of time as additional spending comes to $150 billion.
  In that 10-year period of time, we will appropriate more than $15 
trillion in Federal spending. Work the decimal points. I am talking 
about a tiny sliver of a small percentage that goes into medical 
research. And I am also saying that I am willing to stand here as a 
Senator and promise you that medical research will pay for itself over 
and over and over again.
  I am of an age that I can remember the fear of polio--some folks with 
gray hair may remember that too--when, as a kid, kids were coming down 
with polio, crippled by it, many of them living in iron lungs, and 
parents were scared to death. We didn't know where it was coming from. 
My mother had a theory that it had something to do with water standing 
in the street:
  Don't you go play in that puddle. You may get polio.
  Who knew? No one knew. But we were afraid because we knew fellow 
classmates who were getting polio.
  And then, 60 years ago, along comes Jonas Salk. Every school child in 
America knew that name. We didn't look forward to that shot; that is 
for sure. But the notion that we would be liberated from the fear of 
polio, that was such an amazing discovery that it was national and 
international news. Medical research can do that. Jonas Salk did that. 
We have done it over and over again.
  So now, will our generation give up on biomedical research? Will we 
decide that balancing the budget, eliminating the deficit is more 
important than a small contribution toward the National Institutes of 
Health? I hope not. The amendment I will offer will ask the Senate to 
go on record to support this effort.
  Senator Moran from Kansas was here earlier. He has a similar 
amendment. I am going to vote for Senator Moran's amendment. I hope he 
votes for mine.
  Let's be bipartisan about this. Let's find something we can agree on. 
Let's make it biomedical research. Let's make it a commitment to the 
NIH.
  I know that people we represent in every State of the Union will say: 
You did the right thing, Senator. Put politics aside. Give the money to 
those researchers to find cures for those diseases. It is not only 
going to save us money; it is going to save lives.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Scott). The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the budget 
proposal that has been offered by Senate Republicans, which will help 
Nebraska families--and all American families--have a brighter future.
  For far too long, families have been paying more and forced to expect 
less from an increasingly inefficient and out-of-touch Federal 
Government. While we have made progress, our economy is not where it 
should be, and, unfortunately, the government's spending habits remain 
unsustainable.
  Our $18 trillion debt isn't just a threat to our economic security. 
It is a threat to our national security. It is time to offer bold 
solutions and tackle these problems.
  Republicans were sent to Congress to stop this irresponsible 
mentality--to stop wasteful spending, to balance our budget, and to 
allow our economy to grow and flourish. Families all across this Nation 
have been forced to tighten their belts. Now it is Washington's turn.
  I am here today to highlight some of these initiatives and to show 
what Senate Republicans are doing to safeguard the hard-earned tax 
dollars entrusted to us by the American people.
  Back home, many Nebraskans are wondering how this budget will affect 
their families and their daily lives. With that in mind, the budget we 
have presented will adhere to three basic rules--cut spending, balance 
the budget, and do it all without raising taxes.
  This budget cuts $5.1 trillion in spending over 10 years. The budget 
preserves the spending caps put in place by the Budget Control Act.
  Like many of my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee, I believe 
national defense must be the Federal Government's No. 1 top priority.
  I have the honor of serving as chairman of the Emerging Threats and 
Capabilities Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee. I fully 
understand the very real threats that our Nation faces each and every 
day. But in order for us to ensure our military men and women have the 
resources and training they need to fulfill the missions that we give 
them, we must make hard decisions and we must set priorities.
  Some red lines just won't disappear. The red ink of our debt is here 
to stay unless we make some real changes.
  Our budget preserves the needed pressure to compel Congress to make 
those hard decisions in order to properly fund the security of our 
Nation. This budget also provides much-needed resources for 
infrastructure improvements all across our Nation. It does this through 
a deficit-neutral reserve fund to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure 
with a new highway bill in May.
  The budget resolution provides this mechanism so that a bill can move 
forward, allowing authorizers to find either new revenue or offsets in 
order to extend the life of the highway trust fund.
  Ultimately, the committees of jurisdiction have to write the policies 
and the deficit-neutral reserve fund gives them the flexibility to do 
so.
  As chairman of the commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation 
and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, I know there 
is much work to do on our roads, our bridges, our ports, and our 
harbors. I also believe that infrastructure is another core duty and 
responsibility of the Federal Government. For us to meet that 
responsibility, we have to learn to live within our means.
  Second, this budget doesn't raise a dime in taxes--not one dime. The 
answer to our debt crisis isn't taxing hardworking Americans more. 
Rather, the answer rests in a government that is wiser--a more prudent 
steward of those tax dollars that every American entrusts us to spend 
wisely.
  This is a very timely topic because millions of Americans are 
preparing to file their taxes right now. An estimate from the National 
Taxpayer Advocate in 2013 indicates that Americans collectively spend 
6.1 billion hours and $168 billion on efforts to navigate through our 
very confusing Tax Code and to file their taxes.
  Hard-working Americans--including many who work two or three jobs to 
support their families--should not be expected to dedicate these 
countless hours to comply with all these burdensome requirements, nor 
should they spend their money and have to hire expensive accountants to 
do so. When the income tax was first ratified in 1913, the entire Tax 
Code was 400 pages. Today's Tax Code and the regulated rules now total 
more than 73,000 pages. While these regulations cause stress and 
frustration for families, they also create financial hardships that 
hold back businesses, and they hold back job creators.
  Tax day is an annual reminder that our complex laws desperately need 
to be reformed. I remain committed to promoting a simpler, fairer tax 
system

[[Page S1851]]

that provides certainty and one that encourages economic growth. 
Moreover, the vast majority of economists agree the single best way to 
create jobs and the single best way to generate economic growth is 
through comprehensive tax reform.
  This budget sets us on a path toward that needed reform. It is my 
hope that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will work with 
us so we can accomplish this. Let's take a moment now and look at the 
President's budget proposal. His plan would raise taxes by $1.8 
trillion to pay for new spending projects.
  I think the President's budget is tone deaf. It is tired. It is the 
same old tax-and-spend policies that got us into this mess in the first 
place. There is nothing in it that actually cuts spending or addresses 
this mounting debt.
  Under the President's budget, interest rates alone will triple from 
the $229 billion we currently spend to more than $769 billion a year. 
Let me repeat that. We currently spend more than $229 billion per year 
on our interest alone. That is going to triple to over three-quarters 
of a trillion dollars by 2025. That is money we could use to reinvest 
in our military, we could use to pay down our national debt or that we 
could use to improve the Nation's infrastructure. I think the 
President's proposal is a recipe for a national disaster.
  Our budget offers a realistic way forward. Importantly, this budget 
helps to keep Congress on track regarding the appropriations process. 
For the first time in a long time, Congress is meeting the budgetary 
deadlines as prescribed by law. Passing appropriations bills on time 
allows us to provide the American people with more certainty in 
planning for their futures.
  I have been a Member of the Senate for 2 years. In that time, I have 
seen firsthand the regulatory burden that is hindering our small 
businesses and preventing growth. I have seen the regulatory burden 
that hurts families and makes it hard for them to get ahead. Our budget 
provides a framework to lighten that burden, to lighten that burden of 
government and reduce the cost of responding to Washington bureaucrats. 
Because of the spending reductions in this budget, the CBO has 
estimated the size of the economy will grow by 1.5 percent per person 
in 2025. That is going to provide an additional $1,200 in income to 
families each year. That is the type of growth Nebraskans care about. 
With additional money in their pocket, middle-class families can save 
more and they can reinvest in their children and their future 
potential. They can buy a home. They can save for their kids' 
education. They can put something away for their retirement or maybe 
take a family vacation.
  In order to make this budget work, we have to address things that 
don't work. This week marks the fifth anniversary of ObamaCare. That is 
a law that does not work. ObamaCare has been harming our economy and 
millions of families ever since it was signed into law. I have been 
contacted by over 19,000 Nebraskans who have expressed to me their 
concerns and their frustrations with this law.
  Passage of this budget provides Congress the chance to send a bill to 
the President's desk to repeal and replace ObamaCare once and for all.
  I would also like to touch on some of the amendments I will be 
offering and explain how they will help Nebraska's families and 
Americans all across this Nation. My amendments cover a broad range of 
topics from national defense to pay equity, education, and regulatory 
relief. My amendments help families. They help families have more 
economic security, and they ensure our own national security.
  One amendment, which passed yesterday with bipartisan support, will 
bolster the basic principle of equal pay for equal work. It reinforces 
and it updates existing law to protect employees from retaliation for 
seeking information or discussing their salaries. My nonretaliation 
language closely tracks one of President Obama's April 2014 Executive 
orders on that very same issue. This is a commonsense approach to a 
very important issue that impacts women all across our Nation.
  I have also worked across the aisle with Senator Angus King from 
Maine on an incentive-based paid family and medical leave proposal. Our 
idea is not more one-size-fits-all redtape. It is a tax incentive for 
employers, particularly employers of hourly and low-wage workers. It 
offers a limited amount of paid leave so workers can meet the complex 
family needs they have.
  A common complaint I hear from Nebraskans is regulatory overreach, 
particularly with the EPA. That is why I have offered an amendment that 
would prohibit the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions under the 
National Environmental Policy Act. The Obama administration has 
proposed guidance on how Federal agencies should consider greenhouse 
gas emissions and climate change impacts while conducting NEPA reviews. 
This was not the intent of NEPA, and regulations like these could cause 
significant project delays.
  In my home State of Nebraska, NEPA reviews already take far too long, 
especially when it comes to our highway projects. Time and resources 
are being wasted on bureaucratic paperwork that adds no meaningful 
environmental benefit. My amendment would stop these burdens and end 
the unnecessary process that would delay operations without improving 
environmental outcomes.
  The American people want a government that abides by commonsense 
principles. It is our responsibility to ensure their money is being 
responsibly used by this government, by us. Every day that we move 
forward and that we move our country forward, if we can not add the 
burdens onto the American people, that is a good day. This budget is a 
step in that direction. It provides the right tools to rescue a 
prosperous America for future generations. We have a responsibility to 
offer a better future, to offer a better future than the one we were 
handed. Let's step up to the plate and make that happen.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, a budget is the statement of the 
principles and priorities of our country. I have heard a lot of my 
colleagues talk about specific amendments, some of which I support and 
some of which I oppose. But I think it is important first to talk about 
the underlying budget and what it stands for as far as the principles 
and priorities of America. On all counts, a review of the budget that 
is before us fails middle-income families in America. It doesn't invest 
in job growth or opportunity or U.S. competitiveness. It doesn't allow 
for a growing middle class, particularly to narrow the wealth 
disparities in America. It doesn't end sequestration.
  Let me talk for a moment about sequestration. We have had a lot of 
debate about this on the floor. Sequestration should never take place. 
It is across-the-board, mindless cuts, no priorities. When we have been 
subject to sequestration, we have heard from all of our agencies, how 
they can't plan, how they can't enter into long-term agreements in 
order to carry out the missions they are responsible to carry out. It 
does not allow them the flexibility to deal with the current needs. It 
is wasteful. It costs taxpayers money, and they are not getting the 
benefits of those dollars. When we take a look at the budget that is 
before us, it not only would maintain those levels, it actually 
accelerates some of the levels that would be established through these 
across-the-board cuts.
  Let me just give you the observations from the Center on Budget and 
Policy Priorities, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research 
organization which wrote that the Senate budget ``cut[s] funding below 
the already-damaging sequestration levels in the years after 2016 for 
non-defense discretionary programs--the part of the budget that funds 
education, job training, early intervention programs for children, 
basic scientific and medical research, and transportation, all of which 
are important to increasing opportunity, raising productivity, and 
boosting long-term economic growth.''
  This budget is also not right for our Federal workforce. It does not 
give them the resources they need to carry out their very important 
missions to the American people.
  I want to underscore the fact that our Federal workers are the best 
in the world. They carry out their mission more efficiently and 
effectively than anyone in the world. My colleague Senator Durbin was 
talking about the National Institutes of Health. He talked

[[Page S1852]]

about the important research being done there, and they need greater 
tools in order to get the job done. I was meeting with constituents 
today on Parkinson's who say, look, there are exciting things 
happening, but we need to fund the research. If we don't fund the 
research, we are not going to get the answers. We have the capacity. 
Today at NIH, one out of every six eligible grants goes forward, five 
out of six do not. A few years ago, it was one out of three. We are 
moving in the wrong direction. This budget continues moving us in the 
wrong direction on research. I can mention, I will be talking to the 
Alzheimer's groups, as Senator Durbin did. They need to understand. 
Last week, the cancer advocates were here to find a cure for 
cancer. They encouraged us to increase this year's budget at NIH by $2 
billion in order to get back to where we were. That will not get us 
back to where we were, but if we continue with a $2 billion increase 
for a few years, we could get back to where we were a few years ago. 
The budget does not allow us to do it.

  This past week, I was visiting AstraZeneca at their biologics lab 
located in Frederick, MD. They are doing exciting things. I mention 
that because the research at NIH that will not go forward, as Senator 
Durbin pointed out when he was on the floor, not only affects NIH, it 
affects all the life science companies located in our communities. 
These are great jobs. This is job growth that is being held down.
  At AstraZeneca, they are working on the answers to deal with the 
diseases based upon our own individual DNA. That is what biologics lets 
us do. That is being slowed down because of a budget that will not 
allow NIH to reach its full potential. The budget we have will not give 
NIH the tools it needs.
  I could go to the FDA, which protects our food supply. We have the 
safest food supply in the world, but they need the resources to carry 
out their mission.
  I could go to the EPA. We all like clean water and clean air. The 
Chesapeake Bay is critically important to my State, our region, and 
this country. They depend upon the Environmental Protection Agency 
having the tools to protect our clean water and clean air. This budget 
does not allow for that type of resource so that we can reasonably 
expect the mission to be accomplished.
  As I pointed out earlier, it is also costing us economic growth 
because the partnership with the private sector is not there.
  I will point out another part of the environmental risk of this 
budget, and that is the EPA's popular Clean Water and Drinking Water 
State Revolving Loan Funds. All of us are fighting for those loan funds 
because our local governments need them to improve their drinking water 
capacity, wastewater treatment facility issues. And we have had a 
majority of Senators say: Let's increase those funds.
  In Maryland, those funds improve critical water infrastructure, which 
in turn helps us protect the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. A 
healthy bay is critical to healthy Marylanders and a healthy Maryland 
economy. Without the support from the State revolving fund, many small 
communities--and these funds go to small communities--that are working 
hard to reduce their wastewater discharge in the bay will be without 
the critical financial resources they need to help protect the bay.
  Our large jurisdiction, the city of Baltimore, has used the State 
Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund that has funded the EPA's Clean Water 
State Revolving Fund to upgrade the Back River wastewater treatment 
work. Without adequate resources, they cannot move forward on that.
  My point is, take a look at this budget. I understand their numbers, 
but it doesn't tell us how we spend the money. We can't get the funds 
we need under the caps that are imposed on the nondefense discretionary 
spending, including the programs I just mentioned.
  This budget ignores tax expenditures. I think Americans would be 
surprised to learn that we spend more money in the Tax Code than we do 
in the appropriations bills that are passed every year by Congress. 
Yet, there is no attempt in this budget to rein in those tax 
expenditures. There are many loopholes that benefit the wealthiest and 
give incentives to companies to take their jobs overseas. There is no 
effort to rein in those types of wasteful tax expenditures. In fact, it 
has made it worse because it makes room for additional tax breaks for 
America's wealthiest. That is not what we should be doing. This is at 
the cost of our most vulnerable. Because we have made more room for 
those tax breaks, our most vulnerable are at risk.
  I will give one example in this budget document, which is Function 
600. This category includes items such as SNAP, formerly known as food 
stamps, school lunch, and child nutrition programs. In the tax bill, 
this category includes the earned-income tax credit, the low-income 
part of the child tax credit. The budget allows the expansion of these 
tax credits to expire in 2017, thereby resulting in tax hikes for tens 
of millions of working families and their children. The budget would 
make major cuts in Pell grants, making it harder for low-income and 
middle-income families to send their children to college.
  We had a debate on the floor about the cost of a college education. 
It is much more difficult with this budget resolution, adding to the 
staggering debt American families are currently incurring.
  The budget fails to provide the resources so we can rebuild America, 
the infrastructure investments. We talked on both sides of the aisle 
about the need to increase transportation spending in this country so 
the United States can be more competitive, create more jobs, and 
maintain our existing systems.
  In Maryland, we have two major transit systems we want to move 
forward. Anyone who has experienced the traffic in this region knows 
how congested the traffic is in our part of the country. We have some 
help on the way with the Purple Line, but the budget that is submitted 
makes it difficult for these projects to move forward.
  I met with the people in regard to the modernization of our ports. 
The Port of Baltimore is critical to the economy of our State. It is 
important for U.S. competitiveness. It creates a lot of jobs. The 
dredging needs of the Port of Baltimore and other ports around our 
country will be difficult to meet under the budget caps in this budget 
agreement.
  Lastly, I have some initial observations about the overall budget 
agreement. It is partisan. There was really no effort made to come up 
with a bipartisan budget. We should have done that. The American people 
want us to have a bipartisan budget. It will not be the budget I want, 
it will not be the budget the Democratic Party wants, it will not be 
the budget the President wants, but it will be a budget that will allow 
us to move forward, Democrats and Republicans working with the White 
House, to give the predictability this country needs and provide the 
investments so important for the growth of our middle class and for job 
growth.
  I heard my colleague talk about the ability of this budget to allow 
for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. We just celebrated the fifth 
anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this past month. The budget 
allows for the repeal, but it is interesting in that it doesn't repeal 
the revenues. It takes the revenues we put in place but repeals the 
benefits. There is a little bit of irony in that. And it will clearly 
add to the deficit. I will give the reason why, but they use a magic 
wand, so we don't have to worry about that. Why would the repeal of the 
Affordable Care Act add to the deficit? Because the Affordable Care Act 
has helped us reduce the growth rate of health care spending in this 
country. You don't have to take my word for it; the Congressional 
Budget Office said that Federal health care spending between 2011 and 
2020 will be $600 billion less than they previously estimated. The 
Affordable Care Act is bringing down health care costs. It is bringing 
down the Federal deficit. The Federal deficit through 2025 was adjusted 
down by $400 billion since the January projection.
  It is saving health care consumers, those of us who buy our insurance 
and use our health care system--it is now projected that because of the 
savings between 2010 and 2014, the years of the Affordable Care Act, 
the average family is saving $1,800 a year. These are results from the 
Affordable Care Act that this budget will allow us to repeal.
  Look at the number of uninsured. It has been reduced by 16.4 million. 
We reduced the uninsured rate by 35 percent.
  We increased the number of individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.

[[Page S1853]]

The increased rate is at 17.5 percent. In Maryland, that is 300,000 
more in those programs.
  We improved insurance coverage. We now have much better coverage, 
such as coverage for preventive care and screening tests.
  There are no caps. There are no annual caps or lifetime caps.
  Parents can keep their children on their policy until age 26.
  Those enrolled in the program get value for their premiums. If not, 
the insurance company has to rebate the excess charges. Since 2011, $9 
billion has been rebated to health care consumers.
  We ended preexisting conditions. If anyone doesn't think that makes a 
difference, I have a story about two Marylanders, Jack and Akisha. They 
came to my office last year for help in navigating the Maryland health 
marketplace. In August of 2014, they were able to apply for insurance 
through a special enrollment period, but while waiting to hear back 
about the status of their application, Jack suffered an injury. If that 
had happened in 1995 or 2005, that might have prevented Jack and Akisha 
from obtaining the coverage they so badly needed. But thanks to the 
Affordable Care Act, they got coverage and it covered everything. There 
was no exclusion.
  Coverage is now affordable. Seventy-one percent of the people who got 
insurance through the Maryland exchange got premium tax credits so they 
could afford their coverage.
  In Maryland, we reduced our uninsured rate from 12.3 percent in 2013 
to 7.8 percent in 2015. We all benefit from that. It is not just people 
who have insurance who benefit. Our premiums cover the cost of people 
who don't have insurance. We don't have to pay for those people because 
they now have insurance. There are fewer people using emergency rooms. 
We are making health care more affordable.
  Since we closed the doughnut hole, 8.2 million seniors have saved 
$11.5 billion. In Maryland, the average savings for a Medicare 
beneficiary is $1,400.
  There are no copayments under the Medicare system. The solvency of 
the Medicare system is stronger today.
  I think the most exciting thing about the Affordable Care Act is how 
we are changing the delivery system in this country. Take a look at it. 
Deaths as a result of hospital-acquired conditions have been reduced by 
17 percent since 2010. These are circumstances such as ulcers, 
infections, traumas, and falls--that has been reduced dramatically as a 
result of the Affordable Care Act. Medicare hospital readmissions are 
down. From 2012 until 2013, there were 150,000 fewer readmissions.
  The Affordable Care Act is working. All of these facts make one point 
abundantly clear: The Affordable Care Act has transformed our country 
for the better. It has brought quality, affordable care to millions of 
Americans. It has expanded coverage for young people, minorities, and 
working families. In a span of only 5 years, it has saved seniors 
billions of dollars on their prescriptions, strengthened our safety 
net, and recovered a recordbreaking $19.2 billion in taxpayer funds 
from those committing health care fraud. The Affordable Care Act will 
continue to save our country billions of dollars into the future, and 
the budget we are acting upon would repeal that progress.
  There are other aspects of the health care program that are affected 
by the budget, including the attempt to turn Medicaid into a voucher 
program--Medicaid, which is for our most vulnerable, our seniors, and 
their long-term care needs. I hope we would not want do that, but the 
budget allows that.
  The budget just doesn't add up. It creates deficits far beyond what 
we can do other than to use a magic wand to deal with it. This is not a 
budget we should be acting upon. A lot of amendments will be offered. I 
will be offering some amendments. I know some of my colleagues have 
offered amendments.
  First, I will point out that there are a lot of amendments that I 
hope we will not take up and pass. I urge my colleagues to take a good 
look at them. I will mention one, although I could mention many that 
give me a heartache.
  Senator Barrasso, my good friend, has introduced a bill concerning 
the waters of the United States. To me, it sends a signal that Congress 
is uninterested in providing the regulatory community clarity on the 
scope of the Clean Water Act. The proponents of this amendment used the 
vote to justify passing legislation, either through appropriation 
riders or stand-alone measures, to undermine the process the EPA is 
undertaking to provide clarification on the scope of the Clean Water 
Act. I question the stated purpose of the amendment to protect water 
quality.
  We have a better choice. I thank Senator Stabenow for offering what I 
expect to be a side-by-side amendment. The Stabenow amendment clarifies 
the agriculture exemptions under the Clean Water Act while maintaining 
important clean water protections. These two goals are not mutually 
exclusive.
  There are many amendments that have been offered. Senator Durbin 
mentioned one that I hope everyone will support on NIH funding and 
medical research. I am working on amendments dealing with small 
business. I am the ranking Democrat on the small business committee. We 
need to help provide more credit to our companies.
  The Affordable Care Act advanced oral health. I will be offering some 
additional amendments on oral health and racial profiling. I hope the 
Senate will go on record on voter enfranchisement. I hope we will go on 
record to make it easier for us to reach the consensus we need to pass 
these important bills.
  When the amendment process is over, I must urge my colleagues to 
reject the underlying budget. What we need is a bipartisan budget, one 
that invests in America's future with a growing middle class, keeps 
jobs in America, and reforms our Tax Code. Working together, we can 
build a stronger, more prosperous America for all Americans.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.


                           Amendment No. 796

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up my amendment No. 796.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Utah [Mr. Hatch] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 796.

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
                            saving Medicare)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO SAVING 
                   MEDICARE.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to extending the life of the Federal Hospital 
     Insurance Trust Fund, which may include the creation of a 
     point of order against legislation that accelerates the 
     insolvency of such Trust Fund, by the amounts provided in 
     such legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I will take a few minutes to talk about the 
current debate of the fiscal year 2016 budget. Isn't it wonderful we 
have a budget that we have brought to the floor--something we haven't 
had for I think it has been the last 5 years under Democratic 
leadership. Naturally, there are differences between both sides, but it 
is great that we are using this budget process and, hopefully, we will 
pass this budget and go on from there. The House is going to pass 
theirs, so I appreciate what they are trying to do over there as well.

  First and foremost, I wish to thank the chairman of the Budget 
Committee for all his hard work in putting this product together. He 
has done great work in producing a budget that I believe most Senators 
can support, as well as finding a way to navigate some pretty 
treacherous minefields along the way.
  Let's look at just some of what Senator Enzi's budget will 
accomplish.

[[Page S1854]]

  The most striking thing about this budget is it balances in the 10-
year window, eventually reaching a $3 billion surplus. This shouldn't 
be all that surprising, but given our Nation's recent budgetary 
history, to some, it is. President Obama likes to brag about all of the 
deficit reduction that has taken place under his administration, yet 
the President has yet to send a balanced budget to Congress. More often 
than not, his claims of deficit reduction are measured against an 
inflation baseline that routinely ignores the fact that almost all of 
the reduction can be attributed to increased revenues extracted from 
hard-working American taxpayers with precious little coming in the way 
of any spending cuts. The Senate Republican budget prepared by the 
chairman of the Budget Committee would achieve $4.4 trillion more in 
deficit reduction than President Obama's most recent budget proposal. 
This is a statement about fiscal policy, with the recognition that now 
is the time to get our Nation's fiscal house in order.
  The budget accomplishes its objectives in a number of ways, most 
notably by providing a path toward reining in our unsustainable 
entitlement programs. Let's keep in mind that when we are talking about 
our entitlements--Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in 
particular, just to mention a few--we are talking about tens of 
trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities over the long term. Ever-
growing programs have us on a path toward a fiscal crisis that 
threatens to swallow up our government and take our economy down with 
it.
  The Senate Republican budget would allow us to begin to tackle each 
of these programs' shortfalls, offsetting much of the deficits, and 
giving policymakers in Congress and the administration more room to 
work toward lasting solutions to these problems. With each of these 
three major programs, the budget would help stave off fiscal calamity 
and give us a real opportunity for long-term reforms.
  Entitlement reform is one of the great causes of our time. If we are 
serious about bringing down our deficits and debt and ensuring the 
solvency of our safety net programs, we cannot continue to kick the 
proverbial can down the road.
  I have been disappointed with each of President Obama's budgets, none 
of which would make a dent in our entitlement programs. This budget 
before us this week would enable us to begin the process of finding 
long-term fixes to these programs to ensure Medicare, Medicaid, and 
Social Security still exist in the future for our children and our 
grandchildren.
  In addition to putting our government on a more fiscally sustainable 
path, this budget would support strong economic growth and job 
creation. Most notably, it contains a reserve fund designed 
specifically for this purpose, which includes, among other things, 
lowering the cost of investment, reducing the costs to businesses and 
individuals from the Internal Revenue Code, creating a competitive 
financial sector, and improving congressional budgetary scorekeeping.
  Of course, the budget gives us a path forward on repealing the so-
called Affordable Care Act, which continues to be an albatross on our 
economy and on the well-being of hard-working taxpayers. I don't see 
how anybody can make out a case that it is not going to take us right 
into real difficulties, financially. It isn't going to work, either.
  The budget specifically includes a repeal of Obama's tax on medical 
devices. There is one for us. They needed $30 billion more, so they 
stuck in a gross sales tax on sales for all medical device companies. 
That is an idea I am totally opposed to, and the repeal of ObamaCare's 
tax on medical devices is something I have been pushing for since the 
law was first enacted. Sooner or later we are going to win on that 
because it has to be taken care of. This budget does that. An 
overwhelming majority of Senators--79, to be exact--voted to repeal 
this tax the last time we debated a budget in this Chamber. So I should 
not be the only one who is pleased to see this particular provision 
included in the budget.
  The budget also includes provisions specifically to repeal the 
individual and employer mandates--causes that I have also championed 
here in the Senate. As I said, Senator Enzi and his fellow members of 
the committee deserve a lot of credit for the work he and they have 
done thus far on the budget. I am very pleased to offer my support.
  I am aware that given the partisan climate we are working in, this 
budget has some detractors on the other side of the aisle. As I have 
listened to their arguments against the budget over the past few days, 
one thing has become pretty clear: My Democratic friends haven't come 
up with any new arguments in a long time. Rather than constructive 
proposals to help address our Nation's fiscal difficulties, our friends 
on the other side of the aisle are content to simply continue 
pretending that raising taxes is a fix-all elixir for all of our 
budgetary problems.
  Indeed, they have continued with the tired, debunked talking points, 
arguing that every problem will be solved if Republicans will simply 
allow for modest tax hikes on the so-called rich. How many times have 
we heard that? Yet even though our debt as a share of our economy is at 
levels not seen since the years surrounding World War II, it is most 
often the case that when my friends call for more taxes, often under 
the guise of closing unspecified ``loopholes,'' they want to 
immediately spend it, ignoring the pile of debt the current 
administration has accumulated.
  We have been through that over and over and it is time for the 
American people to wake up and realize what they are doing to us. This 
budget helps us to understand that better.
  I would wager that few reasonable people, if put on the spot, would 
seriously argue that the American people are undertaxed. Yet if we hear 
the arguments coming from the other side, that appears to be their 
position. Yet we are taxed at the highest percentage of the total 
budget than we have ever been. So we have heard our colleagues lament 
the lack of tax hikes in Chairman Enzi's budget, and we have already 
had some votes on amendments to raise taxes. What we have not heard, 
however, is a plan that would line up all of my colleagues' spending 
priorities, which are vast and numerous, with enough tax hikes to cover 
the cost. Until my friends on the other side of the aisle either 
produce such a plan or acknowledge that there are not enough palatable 
tax hikes out there to pay for all the spending they support, no one 
should take their arguments against the budget seriously.
  Let's take a look at this chart. By my staff's reckoning, if we look 
at all the tax hikes my friends on the other side of the aisle put to a 
vote in the last Congress, including the so-called Buffett rule, taxes 
on corporate jets, oil and gas, and others, they are on the record for 
supporting about $69 billion in specific tax hikes that have not yet 
been enacted into law. Yet the first Democratic amendment to this 
budget purported to raise taxes by $478 billion. That is $408 billion 
more than what my friends on the other side have specified in the 
recent past.
  Now what does that mean? The Sanders amendment, which we voted on 
yesterday and almost all Democrats supported, essentially proposed to 
raise taxes by over $400 billion with unspecified tax policy. Perhaps 
my Democratic friends would care to tell the American people how they 
propose to raise that $400 billion in additional revenue, where the tax 
hikes will come from, and who is going to get hit by them. I will not 
be holding my breath waiting for an answer.
  So the Senate Democrats' revenue raisers well is almost completely 
dry, as we see on this chart: revenue necessary for spending increases, 
$478 billion; the Buffett rule, $45.151 billion; the oil and gas, $16 
billion; tax compliance they say is $4.28 billion. If we look at the 
whole thing, the total offsets are $69.5 billion. That is a new bill. 
That is the total offsets they are talking about. It is unbelievable to 
me.
  As I said, there are definitely people who want to criticize this 
budget, but when it comes to taxes and revenues, the critics don't have 
a leg to stand on.
  I wish to speak for a few moments about an amendment to the budget I 
plan to offer this week. My amendment addresses the need for 
comprehensive tax reform. The budget already includes a deficit-neutral 
reserve fund for tax reform and administration. My amendment would add 
more detail to this fund to more fully describe what our tax reform 
efforts should look like. Specifically, it would make clear that

[[Page S1855]]

tax reform should be comprehensive and address individual, business, 
and international provisions of the Tax Code. It would also state that 
our reform efforts should be aimed at creating a Tax Code that is more 
efficient, progrowth, fair, and simple. It would put in place other 
principles for reform as well; namely, permanence, competitiveness, and 
promoting savings and investment. It would set forth goals to reduce 
income tax rates while remaining revenue neutral.
  As most of my colleagues know, I have been advocating for tax reform 
for some time now. This amendment would set this effort off on the 
right path.
  I will have other priorities to discuss when it comes to this budget. 
I look forward to working with my colleagues to get them adopted.
  The Senate is doing good work with this budget. It is thankfully 
working to fulfill its responsibilities. Once again, I wish to thank 
our distinguished chairman of the Budget Committee for his efforts on 
the budget. I urge all of my colleagues in the Senate to join me in 
supporting this product.


                          Medicare SGR Formula

  Mr. President, I wish to take a few minutes to speak about the 
ongoing efforts in the House of Representatives to address the Medicare 
sustainable growth rate, or SGR, formula.
  As we all know, the House is poised to pass legislation that would 
permanently repeal and replace the SGR with an improved payment system 
that rewards quality, efficiency, and innovation. This bipartisan 
exercise represents what Congress is truly capable of when Members 
decide to set aside their differences and work together.
  Since SGR first went into effect, Congress has continually acted to 
prevent its reimbursement cuts from taking place. This has meant 
numerous and repetitive SGR patches, usually cobbled together at the 
last minute behind closed doors, much to the tremendous concern of our 
physicians throughout this country. For years, this cycle has bothered 
Members of Congress in both parties. That is why over 2 years ago, 
former Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and I set out to fix this 
problem once and for all on the Senate side.
  People said it was a lost cause and that our efforts were doomed from 
the beginning. But in late 2013, we introduced our legislation and got 
it reported out of the Finance Committee on a voice vote. That bill, 
which was also drafted with the input and support of the leaders on the 
relevant committees in the House of Representatives, formed the basis 
for the legislation the House will be voting on this week. They deserve 
a lot of credit for this. It has taken a lot of work to get to this 
point, and we are not there yet, but we are getting close. We just need 
to finish the job.

  The House bill is important for a number of reasons. Yes, it includes 
the plan to repeal and replace the broken SGR system. I think everybody 
around here would like to do that, but there is more to it. The bill 
also includes a 2-year extension of CHIP, the Child Health Insurance 
Program that Senator Kennedy and I put through a number of years ago 
and a temporary extension of key Medicare extenders that need immediate 
congressional action. This will give the relevant committees time to 
reform these programs in a responsible manner. It also includes 
provisions to strengthen Medicare's ability to fight fraud and bolster 
existing program integrity efforts. Most importantly, the bill includes 
a downpayment on entitlement reform without any tax hikes.
  For years, Members of Congress have been pushing for legislative 
fixes that will help rein in our unsustainable entitlement programs to 
ensure they will be around for future generations. I personally have 
been working very hard in this effort.
  In 2013, I put forward five separate reform proposals to Medicare and 
Medicaid that were designed to be bipartisan in hopes that I could 
jump-start the legislation on entitlement reform. I shared those 
proposals with anyone who would listen and even some, including 
President Obama, who would not.
  Today, I am happy to say that two of those ideas--the limitation on 
the so-called Medigap first-dollar coverage and more robust means 
testing for Medicare Parts B and D--are included in the House's SGR 
bill. For years, the idea of bipartisan Medicare reform seemed like a 
pipedream, particularly since President Obama and allies in Congress 
demanded that any changes to the program be coupled with significant 
tax hikes. But here we are, just a few votes away from enacting 
meaningful Medicare reforms into law.
  I commend Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi for their 
efforts to reach a bipartisan deal on this legislation. They both 
deserve a lot of credit, as do those who are voting with them in the 
House. In addition to the leaders of the relevant committees, their 
work and their willingness to set aside partisanship for the greater 
good has been vital to this effort. This has not been easy by any 
stretch of the imagination.
  It was also encouraging to hear today that President Obama says he 
intends to sign the bill. Think about that. Specifically, he said about 
the SGR legislation: ``I've got my pen ready to sign a good bipartisan 
bill.'' I commend him for that. It is my understanding that an official 
statement of administration policy will be forthcoming. This is super. 
This is something we ought to all applaud and be ready to do.
  I am not here to say the House bill is perfect; of course, it is not. 
I am aware that some of my colleagues in the Senate are hesitant to 
support this package and have made public statements indicating as 
much. Ultimately, I think anyone who is looking for a reason to vote no 
on the House bill could probably dig through it and find something to 
oppose. This is true of any bill of this magnitude, especially in a 
divided government. Although I do have to say that some of the straw 
man arguments raised in the past week or so against this legislation 
have been interesting, to say the least.
  I know there are Senators who have a vision of what for them would be 
an ideal solution for SGR, CHIP or any other parts of this legislation. 
Indeed, I have my own thoughts as to how I would like to improve this 
bill, but I have been around long enough to know that anyone who waits 
around for a perfect bill better be prepared to wait for a very long 
time. We waited long enough for a solution on SGR. It is time to get 
this done. This is a good bill and it is coming at the right time.
  The time to act is now. I can't imagine another bipartisan 
opportunity like this coming around again any time soon, and I have 
been informed by Members of the House, that this is the last time they 
are going to increase SGR and take care of it. So we have to take this 
and get it through. Anyone who thinks we can continue to put this off 
to wait around for the perfect bill to come together is fooling 
themselves. Make no mistake, if we don't do this now, we are looking at 
many more years of last-minute costly SGR patches, and I have been told 
the House is through. They have done their job, and it may be a long 
time before you can get another patch, which means we have to do the 
job here or every physician in this country is going to hate everybody 
in this Senate. Well, they shouldn't hate everybody; there are some of 
us who are pushing hard to get this done.
  Let's get this done.
  I hope all my colleagues will support the House's SGR package, 
especially if it is as big a vote as I have been indicating here today. 
I think it will be a big vote. I think they deserve a lot of credit. It 
solves some problems we couldn't otherwise solve, and it also makes 
good changes to some of our entitlement programs that are long overdue.
  I want to commend Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi. I want 
to commend them for the work they are doing.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Toomey). The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. MURPHY. Thank you, Mr. President.
  Over the course of the next few days, we are likely going to debate a 
series of amendments relative to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with 
Iran. It is my hope that over the course of this debate, on a handful 
of amendments that may be offered, that the way in which we conduct 
this debate and the way in which these votes come out is going to unify 
us rather than divide us.
  A lot has been made over the partisan division that has been created

[[Page S1856]]

over the past few weeks with respect to our support for negotiations, 
despite the fact that we have all said--Republicans and Democrats--that 
our priority, our hope, is that we can divorce Iran from a nuclear 
weapons future through negotiation rather than through military action, 
despite the fact that historically we have all tried to keep close to 
the idea that politics stops at the water's edge, that we understand 
the limitations of our ability to substitute ourselves for the 
administration when negotiating foreign policy with foreign powers. So 
my hope is that this debate unites us because there is a lot to be 
united about.
  The fact is we all understand the catastrophe that would be wrought 
if Iran was able to obtain a nuclear weapon. This is a country that has 
pledged over and over again to wipe Israel, America's sacred ally, off 
the map. This is a regime that has killed Americans, has sponsored, 
funded, and organized terrorism all over the world. It is also not just 
about Iran because we know what would happen in the region. Their Sunni 
rivals would have no choice but to become nuclear powers themselves.
  The stakes are high and we are all united around the common belief 
that it should be the policy of the United States and the policy of the 
Senate to make sure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon, but I just 
want to make a couple of additional points clear that should underscore 
the debate we are going to have about that simple, unifying principle.
  The first is that these negotiations that are occurring are about the 
future of Iran's nuclear program. They aren't negotiations about Iran's 
support for terrorism or Iran's role in fighting ISIS or Iran's other 
weapons programs. I know this is hard to hear because the resolution of 
these other pressing issues is instrumental to preserving the security 
of America and our allies. But let's all be clear that this set of 
negotiations is about the future of Iran's nuclear program, and for 
Congress at this point to step in and essentially move the goalposts 
and say we will only support the outcome of these negotiations if they 
satisfy another set of concerns that we have--grave concerns about 
Iran's policy in the region and the world--is disingenuous because we 
all supported a sanctions regime intended to get them to come to the 
table and talk about their nuclear program. Frankly, it becomes easier 
to solve many of these other vital issues if we remove the question of 
Iran's potential nuclear weapons program from the laundry list of items 
with which we have great concerns about.
  Second, let's talk about the role Congress can play and how, again, 
that can be unifying if we choose to do it in the right way. If the 
negotiations fall apart, then we are likely all going to stand together 
in imposing a new set of sanctions on Iran. I don't think there is 
disagreement at all within this body about the fact that within days of 
those negotiations failing, we will be back here imposing new crippling 
costs on the Iranian economy. If this agreement succeeds and there is 
ink put to paper, then this Congress reserves the right--has the right, 
has the ability--to statutorily stop the implementation of that 
agreement from going forward, once we are able to review it and look at 
its parameters, conditions, and elements.
  We don't need to vote on sanctions legislation today. We don't need 
to vote on legislation establishing our ability to review the agreement 
because we already reserve those powers. We already have the ability to 
pass sanctions in the event of failure or to vote on approval or 
disapproval in the event of success. But we aren't in the room 
negotiating this deal, so if we want to respect our proper place in the 
constitutional order, then I think it makes sense for us to look at 
those who are negotiating who have said that a bright, bold, blinking 
signal of division within the American political system would be 
detrimental to negotiations.
  I want to see the product of these negotiations so I can use my power 
as a U.S. Senator to vote them up or down, but if we take steps now, if 
we vote on budget amendments that signal our support to take steps to 
undermine those negotiations by either precipitously passing sanctions 
legislation or setting up a process of approval or disapproval before 
the negotiations take place, then I am limiting and I am decreasing the 
likelihood that I will see that deal. We have a role to play, but that 
role comes at the end of these negotiations rather than in the middle.
  Lastly, if we are serious that the policy of the United States is to 
stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, then we have to be serious 
about what the consequences of the failure of negotiations truly are. 
It is disingenuous to suggest that there are credible and likely 
options other than military action should these negotiations fail, 
especially if the U.S. Congress takes steps that allow the world 
community to blame us for the failure of those negotiations. Why is 
that? Well, because the easy thing to do would be to simply reinstate 
global sanctions if the negotiations fall apart, try to squeeze Iran 
even more tightly. But that is unlikely to happen if it is the United 
States that gets blamed for the failure of the negotiations. Why? 
Because our partners in those sanctions will not join us. They will 
walk away and either lift the sanctions or look to cut their own deals 
with Iran.
  It is easy to say we will just put the sanctions back in place, but 
it is impossible, at best very difficult, to do if we are doing that 
unilaterally. Let's be honest about what military action really means. 
It means setting back Iran's nuclear program by 3 to 5 years, but it 
also means setting off a catastrophic series of events in the region 
that will do great harm to our allies, great harm to U.S. security 
interests, dragging us into a conflict that in the end will not serve 
U.S. national security interests, especially given the fact that it 
will only temporarily halt Iranian nuclear ambitions.
  Now I still say we should keep on the table the potential of military 
action, but we should just be honest about the fact that if we take 
steps to undermine these negotiations today, if we, the U.S. Congress 
are blamed for these negotiations falling apart, then it becomes 
virtually impossible to put these sanctions back together; thus, giving 
us only one option, a military option, one that has grave and 
consequential aftershocks for the United States and for our allies.
  I simply come down to the floor knowing we are going to set forth in 
motion a series of amendments, many of them surrounding the question of 
Iran's nuclear program, tomorrow. I am hopeful the result of those will 
be to signal this Congress's unity, a unity that we have expressed many 
times over that we will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon and 
that a negotiated settlement is the preferable way to do that, 
reserving for ourselves all of the inherent powers of this body to pass 
sanctions if they fail, to approve or disapprove the deal if the 
negotiations succeed. The best way to disabuse Iran of the notion that 
they can ever obtain a nuclear weapon is in the next 48 hours for this 
Congress to stand united--united in our position to guarantee a 
nonnuclear weapons future for Iran.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.


                           Amendment No. 352

  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside and call up Roberts amendment No. 352.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kansas [Mr. Roberts], for himself and Mr. 
     Flake, proposes an amendment numbered 352.

  Mr. ROBERTS. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
                  Federal employee performance awards)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO FEDERAL 
                   EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE AWARDS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to reform of Federal employee performance award and 
     bonus programs by the

[[Page S1857]]

     amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.

  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, to get right to the subject, this 
amendment would restrict Federal Government employees from receiving 
bonuses when they are delinquent in paying their Federal taxes.
  During this time of budgetary constraint, Federal agencies are 
looking for cost savings in order to avoid staff furloughs and cuts to 
important Federal programs. Given these constraints, the government 
should not spend scarce taxpayer dollars by giving bonuses to Federal 
employees unwilling--let me underscore ``unwilling''--to pay their tax 
bills.
  We just learned this week that, according to the Internal Revenue 
Service, as of September 2014, 304,000 Federal employees owe $3.5 
billion in Federal taxes. That is an increase of over $200 million in 
delinquent taxes owed by Federal employees from last year. While most 
Federal employees play by the rules--the great majority--it is 
incredible that the delinquent tax debt of Federal employees has 
reached this level.
  Let's look at one agency, everybody's favorite agency, the Internal 
Revenue Service. Last year the Treasury Department's Inspector General 
for Tax Administration issued a report on the Internal Revenue Service 
bonuses awarded to personnel who have violated the tax laws or who have 
been subject to serious infractions of employee policy.
  According to the Inspector General, close to $3 million was awarded 
to staff with violations on their records, with about half of that 
amount going to people who have violated the Tax Code. Other personnel 
at the IRS received cash bonuses or other awards despite being cited 
for drug use, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming 
unemployment benefits, and misusing government credit cards.
  In fact, the report indicates that close to 70 percent of the IRS 
personnel received some sort of personal reward. That is incredible. 
That is remarkable when you think about the sorts of problems your 
average taxpayer has in getting help from this agency. Under my 
amendment, seriously delinquent--let me underscore that again--
seriously delinquent people who will not pay their back taxes, Federal 
employees, regardless of agency, would be ineligible to receive a bonus 
or cash award. However, if you make even the most minimal effort to pay 
your debt or you are suffering a hardship, the amendment would not 
block a bonus from being made. Awarding personnel bonuses to employees 
who have continued tax liabilities today is unconscionable and should 
be stopped. I look forward to support for this sensible restriction on 
awards given to employees who owe the Federal Government.


                           Amendment No. 462

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending 
amendment and call up Roberts amendment No. 462.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kansas [Mr. Roberts] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 462.

  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to over-
                        the-counter medications)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO RESTORE ACCESS TO 
                   MEDICATION.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to over-the-counter medications, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not increase the deficit over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2025.

  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, this amendment would repeal ObamaCare's 
medicine cabinet tax. The health care law now prohibits individuals 
from using funds in their medical savings accounts, such as an FSA or 
an HSA, to purchase over-the-counter medications without a 
prescription. Fifty million Americans participate in FSAs and other 
health savings accounts. These accounts allow individuals to set aside 
their own money each year on a pretax basis to pay for health care 
expenses such as copayments and prescriptions, or over-the-counter 
medications.
  Rather than promoting cost effectiveness and accessibility, this 
provision instead directs participants to potentially more costly, less 
convenient, more time-consuming alternatives. Further, it injects 
unnecessary confusion and complexity into a system that was previously 
straightforward and easy for consumers to utilize. This provision of 
ObamaCare restricts Americans' choice and flexibility in how they 
manage their health care expenses and adds yet another burden on our 
physicians. It should be repealed. Folks should be allowed to spend the 
funds in these accounts as they see fit.
  I hope for support for these two amendments when we begin the 
proceedings.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.


                           Amendment No. 515

  Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up my amendment No. 515.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Louisiana [Mr. Vitter], for himself, Mr. 
     Cruz, and Mr. Inhofe, proposes an amendment numbered 515.

  Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to 
 requiring the Federal Government to allow states to opt out of Common 
                         Core without penalty)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. SPENDING-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO REQUIRING 
                   THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ALLOW STATES TO OPT 
                   OUT OF COMMON CORE WITHOUT PENALTY.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to prohibiting the Federal Government from 
     mandating, incentivizing, or coercing States to adopt the 
     Common Core State Standards or any other specific academic 
     standards, instructional content, curricula, assessments, or 
     programs of instruction and allowing States to opt out of the 
     Common Core State Standards without penalty, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not raise new revenue and would 
     not increase the deficit over either the period of the total 
     of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total 
     of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, this amendment No. 515 is in response to a 
clear and a growing and a dangerous trend, specifically for the 
Department of Education to inappropriately intervene and use carrots 
and sticks, and weapons sometimes, to intervene in State education 
policy to promote certain agendas over the rights of the States.
  This began in earnest in 2010 when the U.S. Department of Education 
began offering funding through Race to the Top grants to States 
participating in a State consortium working toward a ``common set of K-
12 standards.'' Over time, it became increasingly clear that this was 
all about mandating common core and forcing it on States.
  In 2011, the Department of Education took the next step. It offered 
waivers to No Child Left Behind in exchange for the adoption of 
``college- and career-ready standards in reading/language arts and 
mathematics and aligned assessments.'' Again, this is clearly all about 
common core.
  Now, during a time when States are facing increasing budget 
shortfalls and an inability to meet the progress requirements outlined 
in No Child Left Behind, funding and waivers were a very enticing 
option. They were a set of carrots and sticks that had an impact. This 
heavyhanded coercion of

[[Page S1858]]

States to adopt specific standards and assessments is unprecedented and 
it is something we should all be against. It goes against the tradition 
of State and local control of public education.
  My amendment specifically would create a spending-neutral reserve 
fund to rightly prohibit the Federal Government from taking similar 
actions to mandate, incent, or coerce States to adopt the common core 
State standards or any specific set of standards, instructional 
content, curriculum, assessments, or programs of instruction.
  My amendment would also allow States who have already adopted certain 
standards to opt out without fear of the Federal Government pulling 
back those incentives or grants or waivers. I firmly believe these 
decisions should be in State and local hands. This is really crossing 
the line into the Federal Government using coercive tactics in that 
regard. So I urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment.


                           Amendment No. 811

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending 
amendment and call up my amendment No. 811.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Louisiana [Mr. Vitter] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 811.

  Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
   ending Washington's illegal exemption from Patient Protection and 
                          Affordable Care Act)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO ENDING 
                   WASHINGTON'S ILLEGAL EXEMPTION FROM THE PATIENT 
                   PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to developing methods that ensure that all Members 
     of Congress, the President, the Vice President, and all 
     political appointees of the Administration procure their 
     health insurance on the individual exchange in the same way 
     as Americans at the same income level, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not increase the deficit over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2025.

  Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, this separate amendment is about a 
different but equally important topic. It restores our pledge to 
America that Congress as well as the President and the Vice President 
and their political appointees live under the same rules Washington 
passes on America, specifically with regard to ObamaCare.
  This amendment is my ``no exemptions for Washington from ObamaCare'' 
amendment. It says that Members of Congress, the President, the Vice 
President, their political appointees go to the exchange for their 
health care just like every other American does who is going to the 
exchange. No special rules, no special exemptions, no special 
subsidies. We live by the law going to the exchange just like all 
Americans.
  This amendment specifically does not apply to congressional staff. It 
is about Members of Congress, the President, the Vice President, their 
political appointees. I think it should be the first rule of American 
democracy that what Washington passes on America, it lives with itself. 
Same way, same rules, no special exemptions, no special subsidies, no 
special rules.
  We specifically passed that with regard to ObamaCare and the 
exchanges when we passed a Senate floor amendment in this regard. 
Unfortunately, after the passage of ObamaCare, and when Washington 
folks understood what that language meant, there was a furious attempt 
to get out from under that language. That ended up resulting in a 
special Executive order and OPM rule promulgated by President Obama 
that completely frustrates the clear language and intent of that Senate 
floor amendment.
  This budget amendment would say: No, we are going to live by what we 
said, and we are going to apply to ourselves ObamaCare and getting our 
health insurance on the exchanges, just as we would have that operate 
with regard to all other Americans.
  I urge support for this amendment as well.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I can 
utilize a felt pen during my presentation.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, today I rise to discuss the budget 
blueprint we are debating here in this Chamber and that we will be 
voting on here on the floor of the Senate shortly. In evaluating this 
budget, this budget produced by my Republican colleagues, I am asking 
the question: Is this a budget designed to work for working Americans? 
That is just a simple core question.
  If your vision of America is that you want families to thrive, then 
you are going to design a budget for those working families to thrive. 
So that is a key question as we discuss this blueprint. It is certainly 
clear that a budget designed to work for working Americans means jobs. 
It means quality, affordable education. It means retirement security. 
It means financial fairness for consumers. It means fixing a Tax Code 
that is stuffed full of favors for the wealthy and well-connected and 
instead directing resources to establish a foundation for working 
families to do well and provide us all the foundation for raising their 
children so they can get a good start in life.
  I thought we should go through and evaluate how this budget performs 
on basic items related to the success of working families. We have here 
a little scorecard so we can keep track. The middle-class budget report 
card, Senate GOP budget. How does it do?
  Well, let's start at looking at investment in infrastructure. Europe 
is spending 5 percent of its gross domestic product on infrastructure. 
China is spending 10 percent. In America, only 2 percent. We are vastly 
underbuilding our infrastructure, which means we are failing to create 
good-paying jobs now, which is a foundation for the success of working 
families, and we are imperiling the success of our future economy by 
failing to make this investment.
  Indeed, we have a huge infrastructure deficit. There is no effort to 
address this deficit in this budget. Oh, the budget does have symbolic 
language that recognizes theoretically the need to invest in 
infrastructure but does not direct resources to that effect. So in 
committee and on the floor, we have offered amendments to say: Let's 
make a real investment in this effort, not just happy words.

  Well, in committee, it was rejected on a party-line vote, 10 to 12. 
Then yesterday on the floor Senator Sanders offered an amendment that 
would take and direct a substantial investment to taking--closing 
egregious tax loopholes--and directing those resources to building the 
infrastructure in America. It would create 9 million jobs across this 
country. And what happened? The Republicans resoundingly rejected it.
  Why is that the case? Why do they not see the need to invest in 
infrastructure in America--voting, as we have, 45 Democrats saying yes, 
let's invest in infrastructure, let's create jobs, and 52 of my 
colleagues across the aisle saying, No way, no how, we are not going to 
do the important work to address the deficit in infrastructure?
  So, unfortunately, this budget gets an F when it comes to 
infrastructure.
  Surely, as we turn to education, we will find this budget does a 
somewhat better job. We all understand that early childhood education 
has an incredible return, so surely this budget invests in Head Start 
to give our children of challenged families the ability to start on a 
path to success. We know we have a world knowledge economy in which 
education is essential. So, surely, this budget provides for more 
eligible children to participate in the Head Start Program.
  But if that was your assumption, you will be sorely disappointed, 
because this budget makes cuts to Head Start that would kick 110,000 
children off the program over a 10-year period. It is direct damage to 
the success of 110,000 children, and that is before you combine it with 
sequestration cuts. At that point the estimate is it would cut 620,000 
American children out of Head

[[Page S1859]]

Start over this coming decade. That is just wrong.
  Let's turn to higher education. One of the biggest stresses for 
American families is the galloping inflation in tuition and the 
declining ability of Pell grants to cover a small portion of that 
tuition for our most financially challenged families. So, surely, this 
budget invests in Pell grants. I certainly would have expected it to. 
But, indeed, we find it cuts $101 billion over 10 years out of Pell 
grants. In other words, this budget is designed to continue to close 
the doors of opportunity for our students from financially challenged 
families across this country.
  I believe in opportunity. I believe in the American dream. But this 
budget, the Republican budget, believes in closing the doors on 
opportunity in this Nation. That is just wrong.
  Well, Pell grants aren't the only component of higher education that 
helps make college affordable. Another piece is low-interest loans. 
Most families are going to have to borrow to help finance higher 
education. In fact, of those students who have college debt, the 
average debt today, coming out of college, is about $26,000. That is 
the average. Many of our children have debts at $50,000 or $75,000 or 
$100,000 coming out of a 4-year college. That kind of feels like the 
size of a home mortgage as a millstone around their neck. So surely 
this budget lowers interest rates on our students' loans so they can 
refinance their loans to take advantage of the current low interest 
rates. Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing to do, to create opportunity?
  We had a vote on this floor for an amendment to do just that, to 
enable our students to refinance, to take advantage of the current 
lower interest rates--and my Republican colleagues defeated that 
amendment 53 to 46.
  Not only that, but their budget has a provision that gets rid of the 
no-interest period when a student on a Stafford loan is in college and 
gets rid of the 6-month grace period--no-interest rate period--when a 
student graduates from college. This is estimated, for a student who is 
starting college in 2015, to increase the cost of their interest 
payments by about $5,000 to $7,000 as they repay their loan.
  So, Head Start, savaged in this budget--just simply wrong. Pell 
grants, savaged in this budget--just simply wrong. Interest accruing 
increased--and that is just wrong.
  It is clear there is no commitment to education in this budget, the 
foundation for opportunity. This budget, no question about it, that is 
an F on education.
  Let's turn to another area. Hopefully we can get a better grade. Food 
security. Food security for American families. A lot of families are 
having a very tough time putting food on the table. But what do we 
find? We find this budget has a $660 billion reduction over 10 years in 
programs that support low-income Americans, explicitly including the 
SNAP program--the SNAP program, the name we now use for food stamps.
  There is a quote attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, who was the 
wife of Louis XVI. During the French Revolution, she was reported to 
have said, when told that the citizens were protesting the high price 
of bread because they were spending 50 percent of their income just on 
bread: ``Let them eat cake.''
  That has become a symbol of a ruler completely out of touch with the 
challenges faced by ordinary citizens.
  So what do we have in this budget? We have in this budget provisions 
that say to hungry children across America, to children of challenged 
families across America: Let them go hungry.
  So here, too, only one grade is earned by this budget in food 
security, and that is an F for failing our children on food.
  Let's turn from our children to our seniors on Medicare, for example. 
This budget recreates the Medicare doughnut hole. This is the doughnut 
hole seniors fall into when they get no coverage to help them buy drugs 
after an initial period in which they got some subsidies, and then they 
fall off a cliff into the doughnut hole.
  Well, 53,000 seniors would pay more for their drugs in just my State 
next year. That is about 5 million seniors across the course of this 
country who are now going to be ensnared in this doughnut hole.
  Moreover, this budget cuts $430 billion out of Medicare. So whether 
it is getting rid of key provisions designed to help our seniors, such 
as eliminating the doughnut hole or simply solid investment in our 
health care program for seniors, this budget too gets a failing grade. 
That is an F for failing our seniors on Medicare.
  How about consumer protection? We have made a lot of progress in 
consumer protection. We used to have consumer protection split between 
a whole series of agencies. Of course, the key agency in all of it was 
the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has monetary personnel in the 
penthouse--that was really what they were paying most attention to--and 
folks kept coming to the Federal Reserve and saying: Hey, there are 
these new predatory home mortgages that are going to do enormous damage 
to families across the country, and the Federal Reserve had no response 
to this. They did not act. In fact, they had consumer protection locked 
in the basement of the Federal Reserve, and they threw away the key. 
They were simply totally uninterested.
  So back in 2009 and 2010, we said: Let's consolidate these programs 
that have responsibility for consumer protection to one agency, the 
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and let's make sure this agency 
has the funding, like every other financial regulator, so that it can't 
be essentially starved to death by those legislators who, on behalf of 
powerful special interests, don't believe in consumer protection. The 
CFPB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has returned $5 billion 
back to consumers who were cheated, and it has prevented billions more 
from being stripped away through other predatory practices.
  So you would think that all 100 Members of this Senate would stand 
and say: We want a budget that strengthens the Consumer Financial 
Protection Bureau because it does so much that is right in America in 
ending cheating, ending predatory practices against working Americans.
  But, no, what we have in this budget is an effort to eliminate the 
financial independence of the CFPB. If you can think about it as oxygen 
to a scuba diver--folks want to be able to step on that air hose or 
constrict that air hose, starve that agency to death. So this budget 
gets an F on consumer protection.
  Well, certainly, since this budget does so much to cut food, cut Head 
Start, cut Pell grants, increase interest rates, fails to invest in 
infrastructure, and it does so much damage to our seniors on Medicare, 
certainly it is asking for some sacrifice from our richest Americans, 
some bit of sacrifice from the corporate fat cats who are getting 
egregious tax loophole benefits.
  In particular, one loophole that I think drives every American 
citizen nuts is a loophole that subsidizes the shipment of our jobs 
overseas. Can't we all agree to shut down that loophole?
  Well, you would think so. But we had a vote on shutting down this 
loophole in committee, and a party-line vote said: No, we are going to 
leave this loophole in place.
  So in terms of protecting American jobs by shutting down a loophole 
that funds our adversaries overseas or our competitors overseas, this 
budget gets an F.
  How about tax fairness for the middle class? I have heard a lot of 
happy words about fighting for the middle class. Is there something in 
this budget that proceeds to say the best off are going to pay their 
fair share so that middle-class Americans get a better break?
  In 1995, the richest Americans paid about 30 percent of their 
adjusted gross income in taxes. But by 2012, that rate had dropped to 
17 percent.
  So does this budget rectify that? Does this budget say folks at the 
top end should pay their fair share? No, it doesn't, not one slim dime 
extracted on behalf of fairness from the best off in our society.
  So what we have here, attack the middle class, no tax fairness, so 
there is an F grade on tax fairness.
  Attack the middle class in every possible way. Attack the children, 
attack food security, fail on infrastructure, fail on consumer 
protection, and proceed to protect all the egregious provisions for the 
very best off in our society.
  It is unfortunate to see such a dramatically terrible budget put 
before

[[Page S1860]]

this body. I think the American citizens can only be deeply 
disappointed to see a budget put forward intended to accelerate and 
increase inequality in our Nation, destroy our jobs, ship them 
overseas, underfund food security, failure on investment for our 
infrastructure, a failing grade all around.
  We can do much better.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I am sure the Senator from Oregon is 
right. We can do much better. We sure as hell didn't do any better for 
the last 6 years.


                             Sequestration

  Mr. President, I wish to talk for a few minutes--and I have a couple 
of my colleagues waiting, so I won't take as long as perhaps I would--
about sequestration.
  Sequestration was a poison pill that originally was designed to force 
Republicans and Democrats to sit down together and reach a bargain that 
would entail increasing some revenues and also budget cuts. And the 
looming axe that would fall out there was sequestration, which was 
believed at the time that because sequestration was so terrible it 
would force the two parties together to come to an agreement. Well, we 
know they never did, and we know now, ever since 2011, we have been 
living with sequestration.

  While we have been living with sequestration, the world has turned 
into a place of enormous turmoil and threats to the security of our 
Nation, which has escalated dramatically in those intervening years. At 
some point, I would like to come to the floor, maybe later, showing the 
world in 2011 and the world in 2015.
  Thanks to a feckless foreign policy, leading from behind and 
abandoning our allies, this administration has caused the world to be 
in more turmoil and not in just the opinion of this Senator. Every 
witness before our Committee on Armed Services has agreed on one thing. 
These witnesses have been Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, George 
Shultz, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and I could go on and on. 
We have had the smartest minds in America before our committee and 
every one of them has said exactly the same thing, no matter whether 
they served under Republican or Democratic administrations, they said 
they have never seen the world in more turmoil.
  So sequestration, if there ever was a reason for it, is long gone. 
The fact is not only are we not going to be able to defend this Nation, 
but we are going to put American lives at risk. That is not the opinion 
of this Senator from Arizona, it is the opinion of every one of our 
service leaders who have, again, been before our committee.
  So now we are not repealing sequestration, but we have this--and it 
is a gimmick--overseas contingency operations, which was not designed 
for this but is now a way of increasing our spending on defense. I 
would much rather have had us face the issues square head-on and 
increase our defense spending in the normal way in the budgetary 
process. That didn't happen. So now as we begin our votes on the 
budget, I am faced with two choices, and this body is faced with two 
choices: either the increases in overseas contingency operations or go 
back to sequestration. Those numbers are not acceptable.
  I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to go ahead and pass 
this budget and give our military what they need. In fact, they need 
more than what is in the budget before us, but at least it is some 
ability to address the challenges to our Nation.
  I just want to mention we are not only talking about the defense of 
our Nation, we are talking about the lives of the men and women who are 
serving in the military. In the view of our military commanders, their 
lives are being put at risk. I don't know how anyone in this body, no 
matter how they feel about defense, could vote in a way that would put 
the lives of the men and women serving in the military at greater risk. 
I don't know how anyone would do that.
  All four service chiefs agreed, during questioning from Senator King 
of Maine, that ``American lives are being put at risk.'' The Secretary 
of Defense testified before the committee, ``Sequestration threatens 
our military's readiness, the size of our warfighting forces, the 
capabilities of our air-naval fleets, and ultimately the lives of our 
men and women in uniform.''
  The National Defense Panel, put together with some of the brightest 
minds in America, said unless sequestration is reversed, ``the United 
States could find itself in a position where it must either abandon an 
important national interest or enter a conflict for which it is not 
fully prepared.''
  I don't know anybody who is more respected than Lt. Gen. Brent 
Scowcroft by all, and he said:

       Absolutely, I would [repeal sequestration]. It is a 
     terrible way to determine force structure strategy, or 
     anything like it. It's undermining our ability to do what we 
     need to do to retain . . . alert for the contingencies of the 
     world.

  General James Mattis: ``No foe in the field can [wreak] such havoc on 
our security that mindless sequestration is achieving.''
  General Jack Keane: ``Sequestration is not only irresponsible, in the 
face of emerging challenges, it is downright reckless.''
  GEN Ray Odierno said the following:

       Sequestration is the single greatest barrier to the 
     effectiveness of our Armed Forces--to its Training, 
     Readiness, and Modernization. I assure you that ending 
     sequestration is the most prudent measure we can take for 
     ensuring that our military is able to meet the demands of 
     global security now and in the future.

  General Odierno went on to say:

       The choices we must make to meet sequestration-level 
     funding are forcing us to reduce our Army to a size and with 
     limited capabilities that I am not comfortable with. If we 
     follow this path to its end, we will find a hollow Army.
       If we do not have the resources to train and equip the 
     force, our Soldiers, our young men and women, are the ones 
     who will pay the price, potentially with their lives.

  That is from the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. The young men and 
women are the ones who will pay the price, potentially with their 
lives.
  Gen. Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, said: ``The 
vulnerabilities sequestration introduces into our force will encourage 
our adversaries, worry our allies, limit the number of concurrent 
operations we can conduct, and increase risk to the men and women who 
fight America's next war.''
  Secretary of State George Shultz, one of the most revered men in 
America, had this to say: ``Sequestration seems to me like legislative 
insanity.''
  Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: ``I'm very concerned about 
sequestration and the deep cuts that have been taken . . . I think it 
jeopardizes America's military reach.''
  The Director of National Intelligence said:

      . . . just based on my best professional judgment and having 
     served in this business for a long time I'm very concerned 
     about it. And if we revert to sequestration in 2016, the 
     damage to the intelligence community will be quite profound.

  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

       In an age when we are less certain about what will happen 
     next, but quite certain it will happen more quickly, we will 
     be further away and less ready than we need to be. Simply 
     stated, sequestration will result in a dramatic change in how 
     we protect our nation and how we promote our national 
     interests.

  Lt. Gen. John Kelly, the commander of U.S. Southern Command:

       If sequestration returns in FY16, our ability to support 
     national security objectives, including conducting many of 
     our essential missions, will be significantly undermined.
     . . . . I would tell you in Latin America, in Southern 
     Command, [sequestration] will be, just simply put, a 
     catastrophe. It will essentially put me out of business.

  The commander of our Southern Command, who is responsible for our 
Southern Hemisphere, goes on to say:

       If sequestrations happen, I will be down to maybe one Coast 
     Guard, maybe two Coast Guard cutters. That means of the 158 
     [metric] tons [of cocaine] I would expect to get this year, I 
     probably if I'm lucky will get 20 tons.

  Admiral William Gortney, Commander of the Northern Command: 
``Sequestration targets both current and future readiness and risks a 
hollow force undertrained and underprepared for today's emerging 
threats.''
  My friends, I will come to the floor one more time with a map--a map 
of the Middle East and a map of other parts of the world where the 
United States is under almost unprecedented threat.
  We are faced with the prospect of threats to the United States of 
America and the men and women who are

[[Page S1861]]

serving it in uniform. We are moving forward with OCO, which is very 
unsatisfactory but a way through this at least for 1 year. I would 
point out this is only for 1 year and that the ability of the Defense 
Department to plan is in great jeopardy. This makes it incredibly 
difficult, but we are where we are.
  I understand, as do my friends on both sides of the aisle, that we 
need to increase defense spending and that there are a lot of needs in 
the country. All of them are serious and compelling, but I don't know 
anything more compelling right now than what our military leaders have 
told us, which is that we are putting the lives of the men and women 
serving in uniform at risk.
  So I say to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as dire as the 
deficit is, and it is a challenge to the future of our children as 
well, right now we are facing a far greater risk. I hope we can pass 
this budget with the OCO in it and then sit down and seriously work to 
repeal this Damocles sword called sequestration.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
the quotes I read from earlier.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:


                      All Service Chiefs (1/28/15)

       Each of the four service chiefs agreed during questioning 
     from Senator King (I-ME) that ``American lives are being put 
     at risk'' by sequestration.


                Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (3/4/15)

       ``Sequestration threatens our military's readiness, the 
     size of our warfighting forces, the capabilities of our air-
     naval fleets, and ultimately the lives of our men and women 
     in uniform.''


                     National Defense Panel (2014)

       ``The defense budget cuts mandated by the Budget Control 
     Act (BCA) of 2011, coupled with the additional cuts and 
     constraints on defense management under the law's 
     sequestration provision, constitute a serious strategic 
     misstep on the part of the United States. Not only have they 
     caused significant investment shortfalls in U.S. military 
     readiness and both present and future capabilities, they have 
     prompted our current and potential allies and adversaries to 
     question our commitment and resolve. Unless reversed, these 
     shortfalls will lead to a high risk force in the near 
     future.''
       Unless sequestration is reversed, ``the United States could 
     find itself in a position where it must either abandon an 
     important national interest or enter a conflict for which it 
     is not fully prepared.''


                       Brent Scowcroft (1/21/15)

       ``Absolutely, I would [repeal sequestration]. It is a 
     terrible way to determine force structure strategy, or 
     anything like it. It is undermining our ability to do what we 
     need to do to retain . . . alert for the contingencies of the 
     world.''


                     General James Mattis (1/27/15)

       ``No foe in the field can [wreak] such havoc on our 
     security that mindless sequestration is achieving.''


                      General Jack Keane (1/27/15)

       ``Sequestration, is not only irresponsible, in the face of 
     emerging challenges, it is downright reckless.''


                     General Ray Odierno (1/28/15)

       ``Sequestration is the single greatest barrier to the 
     effectiveness of our Armed Forces--to its Training, 
     Readiness, and Modernization. I assure you that ending 
     sequestration is the most prudent measure we can take for 
     ensuring that our military is able to meet the demands of 
     global security now and in the future.''
       ``Should sequestration or sequester funding levels return 
     in FY16, the Army will have to further limit the readiness of 
     forces around the world while slashing Army modernization, 
     extending and postponing maintenance cycles, and standing by 
     as the conditions of our facilities deteriorate.''
       ``With an increase in threats around the world that have 
     rendered some of our planning assumptions optimistic, we must 
     acknowledge that the FY16 post-sequestration spending cap, 
     which was set almost four years ago, has not kept pace or 
     accounted for an increasingly complex and dangerous world . . 
     . With the velocity of instability increasing around the 
     world . . . now is not the time to be dramatically reducing 
     capability and capacity.''
       ``If we are forced to take further endstrength reductions 
     beyond the planned levels in the President's budget due to 
     sequestration, our flexibility deteriorates, as does our 
     ability to react to strategic surprise. We are witnessing 
     firsthand mistaken assumptions about the number, duration, 
     location, and size of future conflicts and the need to 
     conduct post-stability operations. These miscalculations 
     translate directly into increased military risk.''
       ``A return to sequestration-level funding would require the 
     Army to size and equip the force based on what we can afford, 
     not what we need, increasing the risk that when called to 
     deploy, we will either not have enough Soldiers or will send 
     Soldiers that are not properly trained and equipped.''
       ``The choices we must make to meet sequestration-level 
     funding are forcing us to reduce our Army to a size and with 
     limited capabilities that I am not comfortable with. If we 
     follow this path to its end, we will find a hollow Army.''
       ``If we do not have the resources to train and equip the 
     force, our Soldiers, our young men and women, are the ones 
     who will pay the price, potentially with their lives.''


                  Admiral Jonathan Greenert (1/28/15)

       ``A return to sequestration in FY 2016 would necessitate a 
     revisit and revision of the DSG. Required cuts will force us 
     to further delay critical warfighting capabilities, reduce 
     readiness of forces needed for contingency response, forego 
     or stretch procurement of ships and submarines, and further 
     downsize weapons capacity.''
       ``We will be compelled to go to fewer places, and do fewer 
     things. Most importantly, when facing major contingencies, 
     our ability to fight and win will neither be quick nor 
     decisive.''


                      General Mark Welsh (1/28/15)

       ``A return to sequestered levels of funding in FY16 will 
     reverse any progress we made in addressing our infrastructure 
     and facility maintenance and exacerbate our problems with 
     readiness and modernization. It will also make it impossible 
     for us to meet the operational requirements of the Defense 
     Strategic Guidance.''
       ``Our overall readiness as a force is already significantly 
     impacted by the size and age of our current aircraft fleet. 
     It is now the smallest and oldest in the history of our 
     service. It is also the least ready--less than half of our 
     combat coded units are fully combat capable. As Secretary 
     James and I testified a year ago, a return to sequestered 
     levels of funding in FY16 will multiply the number of very 
     tough choices we will be forced to make in our FY16 POM 
     recommendations. All of them impact our ability to do the 
     jobs the Nation, and the joint force, expect of us.''
       ``We will not have sufficient force structure to meet the 
     fundamental requirement to simultaneously Defeat an 
     adversary, Deny a second adversary, and Defend the 
     Homeland.''
       ``The vulnerabilities sequestration introduces into our 
     force will encourage our adversaries, worry our allies, limit 
     the number of concurrent operations we can conduct, and 
     increase risk to the men and women who fight America's next 
     war.''


                    General Joseph Dunford (1/28/15)

       ``In order to maintain the readiness of our forward 
     deployed forces, we've assumed risk in our home station 
     readiness, modernization, infrastructure sustainment, and 
     quality of life programs. As a result, approximately half of 
     our non-deployed unites, those who provide the bench to 
     respond to the unexpected, are suffering personnel, equipment 
     and training shortfalls. In a major conflict, those 
     shortfalls will result in a delayed response and/or 
     additional casualties. We're investing in modernization at an 
     historically low level.''
       ``BCA funding levels with sequester rules will preclude the 
     Marine Corps from meeting the requirements of the Defense 
     Strategic Guidance. Sequester will exacerbate the challenges 
     we have today. It will also result in a Marine Corps with 
     fewer active duty battalions and squadrons than would be 
     required for a single major contingency. Perhaps 
     disconcerting, it will result in fewer Marines and sailors 
     being forward deployed in a position to immediately respond 
     to crises involving our diplomatic posts, American citizens 
     or interest overseas.''
       ``The foundation of the all-volunteer force. . .is trust. 
     Sequestration will erode the trust that our young men and 
     women in uniform, civil servants and families have in their 
     leadership. And the cost of losing that trust is 
     incalculable.''


               Secretary of State George Shultz (1/29/15)

       ``Sequestration seems to me like legislative insanity.''


            Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1/29/15)

       ``I'm very concerned about sequestration and the deep cuts 
     that have been taken. . . I do think it jeopardizes America's 
     military reach.''


       Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (2/26/15)

       In the case of the Intelligence Community, the impacts 
     ``are more insidious in that predicting when we have a lesser 
     capability will eventuate in a failure is hard to quantify. 
     But just based on my best professional judgment and having 
     served in this business for a long time I'm very concerned 
     about it. And if we revert to sequestration in 2016, the 
     damage to the intelligence community will be quite 
     profound.''


                          Ash Carter (3/4/15)

       ``The prospect of sequestration's serious damage to our 
     national security and economy is tragically not a result of 
     an economic emergency or recession. It is not because these 
     budget cuts are a mathematical solution to the nation's 
     overall fiscal challenge--they are not. It is not because 
     paths of curbing nondiscretionary spending and reforming our 
     tax system have been explored and exhausted--they have not. 
     It is not due to a breakthrough in military technology or a 
     new strategic insight that somehow makes continued defense 
     spending unnecessary--there has been no such silver bullet. 
     And it is not because the world has suddenly become more 
     peaceful--for it is abundantly clear that it has not. 
     Instead, sequestration

[[Page S1862]]

     is purely the collateral damage of political gridlock. And 
     friends and potential enemies around the world are 
     watching.''
       ``Under sequestration, our military--and our national 
     security--would have to take on irresponsible and unnecessary 
     risk--risk that previous Administrations and Congressional 
     leaders have wisely chosen to avoid.''
       ``Allowing sequestration to return would deprive our troops 
     of what they need to accomplish their missions.''
       ``All who bemoan unnecessary Pentagon program delays and 
     the associated cost overruns should know that sequestration 
     will only make these problems worse.''


                        Martin Dempsey (3/4/15)

       ``The PB16 budget. . .is what we need to remain at the 
     lower ragged edge of manageable risk in our ability to 
     execute the defense strategy. However, we have no slack, no 
     margin left for error or strategic surprise.''
       ``Funding lower than PB16, especially if sequestration-
     level cuts return next year, combined with a lack of 
     flexibility to make the reforms we need, will render the 
     overall risk to our defense strategy unmanageable. In other 
     words, our Nation's current defense strategy will no longer 
     be viable.''
       ``In an age when we are less certain about what will happen 
     next, but quite certain that it will happen more quickly, we 
     will be further away and less ready than we need to be. 
     Simply stated, sequestration will result in a dramatic change 
     in how we protect our nation and how we promote our national 
     interests.''


     General John Kelly, Commander, U.S. Southern Command (3/12/15)

       ``If sequestration returns in FY16, our ability to support 
     national security objectives, including conducting many of 
     our essential missions, will be significantly undermined.''
       ``Limited tactical ISR allocation and national technical 
     focus is impairing virtually every one of our assigned 
     missions and exposing the southern approaches to the United 
     States to significant risk. Sequestration will compound this 
     challenge. . .[S]equestration will likely eviscerate our 
     already limited ISR capacity.''
       ``Its potential return in FY16 would jeopardize our 
     progress; undermine our credibility and [Latin America's] 
     trust in our commitments; and present renewed hardships for 
     our civilian and military workforce.''
       ``I would tell you in Latin America, in Southern Command, 
     [sequestration] will be, just simply put, a catastrophe. It 
     will essentially put me out of business.''
       ``If sequestrations happen, I will be down to maybe one 
     Coast Guard, maybe two Coast Guard cutters. That means of the 
     158 [metric] tons [of cocaine] I would expect to get this 
     year, I probably if I'm lucky will get 20 tons.''


    Admiral William Gortney, Commander, Northern Command, (3/12/15)

       ``Sequestration targets both current and future readiness 
     and risks a hollow force undertrained and underprepared for 
     today's emerging threats. The across-the-board cuts required 
     to meet sequestration spending levels beginning again in FY 
     2016 mean critical capabilities USNORTHCOM and NORAD depend 
     on to accomplish our missions could be in jeopardy, even as 
     our potential adversaries remain persistent and innovative.''


   Admiral Cecil Haney, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, (3/19/15)

       ``The President's FY16 Budget supports my mission 
     requirements, but there is no margin to absorb risk. Any cuts 
     to that budget including those imposed by sequestration will 
     hamper our ability to sustain and modernize our military 
     forces, and will add significant risk to our strategic 
     capabilities now and in the future.''

  Mr. McCAIN. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.


                           Amendment No. 443

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside and I be allowed to call up amendment No. 443 
and that the amendment be made pending.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Colorado [Mr. Gardner] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 443.

  Mr. GARDNER. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
          protecting privately held water rights and permits)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO PROTECTING 
                   PRIVATELY HELD WATER RIGHTS AND PERMITS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to protecting communities, businesses, 
     recreationists, farmers, ranchers, or other groups that rely 
     on privately held water rights and permits from Federal 
     takings by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, when you walk into the capitol of 
Colorado, there in that great rotunda is a mural on the wall by Thomas 
Hornsby Ferril, and it starts out with a very simple phrase that reads: 
``Here is a land where life is written in water.'' So during this 
budget I will be offering amendment No. 443 to make sure we are 
protecting that lifeblood of Colorado--our water--and to make sure our 
State property rights, State law, is able to prevail against the 
intrusions by the Federal Government.
  Over the past several decades, we have watched as the Federal 
Government has attempted to assert bypass flows or Federal reserve 
water rights that impede our ability to carry out private water rights 
and to, indeed, protect Colorado private water rights. Whether it is 
the imposition of a bypass flow on a ditch that is going through Forest 
Service ground or perhaps the new Forest Service ski area water rule or 
the groundwater rule they are now discussing, these are, once again, 
challenges to the supremacy of State water law.
  This government has a long history of yielding to State water law--
making sure that State water law is supreme when it comes to how we 
carry out and manage our State water rights. Over the years, bipartisan 
coalitions in Colorado, Wyoming, and beyond have emerged to make sure 
we are protecting our water rights, to make sure the Federal Government 
isn't coming in outside of our system of water law.
  Colorado is extremely complex. We are the only State in the Union 
that carries out our water law, our surface water rights in the way we 
do. Unfortunately, whether it is the Forest Serve, the Department of 
Interior or the Department of Agriculture, other agencies have 
continued to seek their ways to impose a water right at the Federal 
level without going through the same channels, the same water law 
system that other people in Colorado do--people who by rights, by law, 
and by our constitution have the rightful ownership of Colorado water 
rights and water permits.
  This amendment protects communities, businesses, recreationists, 
farmers, and ranchers that rely on these privately held water rights 
and permits from Federal takings. The amendment recognizes the 
longstanding authority to manage water according to our State law.
  Today, water rights and permit holders face challenges, and this can 
come to an end when we put into our budget our principles, our 
purposes, and our efforts in making sure we put policies forward in the 
next several months that respects Colorado water law.
  I urge all my colleagues to support this amendment, which is a vote 
to protect constitutionally held private water rights and permits.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.


                     Amendment No. 777, as Modified

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Sanders 
amendment No. 777 be modified with the changes that are at the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment, as modified, is as follows:

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO CUTTING 
                   CARBON POLLUTION TO PREVENT HUMAN-INDUCED 
                   CLIMATE CHANGE.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to protecting Americans from the impacts of human-
     induced climate change, which may include action on policies 
     that reduce emissions by the amounts that the scientific 
     community says are needed to avert catastrophic climate 
     change, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through

[[Page S1863]]

     2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2025.

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have the 
following Senators added as cosponsors to his amendment: Senators 
Boxer, Markey, and Schatz.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Amendment No. 801

(Purpose: To build on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 by restoring a 
below-sequester level cut of $9,000,000,000 to nondefense discretionary 
    spending in 2017, replacing sequestration in 2016 and 2017 and 
        increasing funding above sequester levels by a total of 
  $148,000,000,000 for the 2 years, increasing defense and nondefense 
    discretionary spending above sequester levels by equal amounts, 
 eliminating the overseas contingency operations gimmick contained in 
 the committee-reported resolution, and offsetting the net increase in 
     defense and nondefense discretionary spending by closing tax 
                              loopholes).

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up my amendment No. 801.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Washington [Mrs. Murray], for herself, Mr. 
     Wyden, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Warner, Mr. Schatz, Ms. Baldwin, and 
     Mr. King, proposes an amendment numbered 801.



 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  
  On page S1863, March 25, 2015, in the first column, the 
following appears: The Senator from Washington [Mrs. MURRAY], for 
herself, Mr. Wyden, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Warner, Ms. Baldwin, and Mr. 
King, proposes an amendment numbered 801.
  
  The online Record has been corrected to read: The Senator from 
Washington [Mrs. MURRAY], for herself, Mr. Wyden, Ms. Stabenow, 
Mr. Warner, Mr. Schatz, Ms. Baldwin, and Mr. King, proposes an 
amendment numbered 801.


 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The amendment is printed in today's Record under ``Text of 
Amendments.'')
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, as many of us here have said before, a 
budget is far more than simply numbers on a page. A budget is a 
statement of values, of priorities, the kind of Nation we are, and the 
kind of Nation we want to be.
  For Democrats, that means our budget should help us move toward an 
economy that is built from the middle out, not from the top down, and a 
government that works for all families, not just the wealthiest few.
  When Democrats wrote our budget last Congress, we made our values and 
priorities crystal clear. We put jobs, economic growth, and the middle 
class first. We replaced the automatic budget cuts evenly among defense 
and nondefense investments, with an equal mix of responsible spending 
cuts and revenue raised by closing wasteful tax loopholes used by the 
wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. We addressed our long-
term deficit and debt challenges fairly and responsibly. And we kept 
our promises that we have made to our seniors and families.
  The Republican House didn't simply accept our budget, of course. But 
I am very proud that coming out of the terrible government shutdown at 
the end of 2013, we were finally able to break through the gridlock and 
dysfunction to reach a bipartisan budget deal that put in place a 
budget for 2 years, prevented another government shutdown, and rolled 
back the worst of the automatic cuts.
  That deal wasn't the budget I would have written on my own and it 
wasn't the one Republicans would have written on their own, but it did 
end the lurching from crisis to crisis, it helped workers, it helped 
our economy, and made it clear that there is bipartisan support for 
rolling back sequestration in a balanced way.
  Our bipartisan deal was a strong step in the right direction, and I 
was hopeful we could work together to build on it. But Republicans have 
taken a very different approach this year.
  Instead of building on our bipartisan budget deal, this Republican 
budget would be a huge step backward. Instead of moving us toward a 
government that works for all of our families, this budget would push 
us toward a budget that works for the wealthy and well-connected, but 
actually leaves the middle class and working families behind.
  We know there is bipartisan support to replace sequestration in a 
balanced and fair way. Not only did we prove that with our bipartisan 
budget deal last time, but Democrats and Republicans across the country 
have continued to come out against the senseless cuts to defense and 
nondefense investments.
  But in this Republican budget--a budget that aims nearly 70 percent 
of all its spending cuts at programs that combat poverty, that cuts 
more than $1 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid, that calls for a 
total of $5 trillion in spending cuts--in this budget, my Republican 
colleagues couldn't even find a single penny to pay for more 
investments in education, research, or defense investments for this 
coming year.
  To put that in perspective, the budget agreement I reached with 
Chairman Paul Ryan in 2013 found $85 billion in savings to pay for 
sequester relief over 2 years. That is less than 2 percent of the total 
savings this Republican budget claims to have in it. And yet the 
across-the-board cuts to both defense and nondefense priorities remain 
in place. Why is that?
  Well, instead of using a tiny fraction of the enormous cuts this 
budget has in it to pay for investments that both Republicans and 
Democrats agree must be made, it relies on a gimmick and increases OCO 
funding to appear to patch over the problem on the defense side, but 
then doesn't actually allow for the increased OCO funding to be even 
spent, and does nothing at all for nondefense investments such as 
education, research, jobs, and infrastructure.
  I know our Republican colleagues are sincere when they say they want 
to find a way to increase the caps, especially for defense purposes, 
but this budget in front of us today simply does not do that. Gimmicks 
and lip service are not enough for me, and I don't see why they are 
enough for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, especially 
given the deliberate choice not to use any of the $5 trillion in cuts 
in this to pay for some relief, a choice that should greatly concern 
anyone who genuinely wants to fix this problem.
  So I come to the floor to offer another way--a way that would make it 
clear that we will in fact fix these senseless across-the-board cuts 
known as sequestration.
  My amendment builds on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and extends 
the replacement of sequestration through fiscal years 2016 and 2017. 
This amendment maintains the principle that Democrats will not 
abandon--that sequestration should be replaced evenly across defense 
and nondefense investments. And it builds on the idea that 
sequestration should be replaced with a mix of responsible spending 
cuts and new revenue raised by closing wasteful tax loopholes.
  By providing Defense with real resources to replace the sequester 
cuts, it gets rid of the OCO gimmick that was added in committee.
  Finally, it includes language to automatically release the additional 
defense and nondefense funding to the Appropriations Committee upon the 
increase in the statutory caps, similar to language that we passed in 
the previous budget.
  Now we all know there is going to have to be a solution to these 
automatic cuts. President Obama has said he will not sign spending 
bills that lock in sequestration. And the fact is we simply can't make 
the investments we need to make on both defense and nondefense if these 
caps remain in place.
  We should be able to give our appropriations committees the guidance 
they need to write responsible bills at bipartisan levels, and not wait 
for another crisis to hit before we come together and make a deal.
  I know there are Republicans who understand how devastating the 
automatic cuts are for our defense and nondefense investments. I know 
there are Republicans who understand the value of investing in jobs, 
infrastructure, education, and research. I know there are Republicans 
who have seen the impact of sequestration in their States the way I 
have seen in my home State of Washington. And I know there are 
Republicans who look at this budget and wonder why it couldn't use some 
of the trillions of dollars in cuts to reinvest in American innovation 
or in our investments.
  So I am ready to work with any Republican truly interested in 
building on our bipartisan budget deal in a balanced and responsible 
way. I know my colleagues will stand with me because, to us, this is 
about middle-class economics, plain and simple.
  We believe that when working families do well, they spend more, they 
boost demand, and they grow the economy in a healthy and sustainable 
way. We believe when low-income families

[[Page S1864]]

are offered a hand up and an opportunity to get a job or earn more or 
join the middle class, that means more taxpayers, less need for 
housing, less need for nutrition support, and it means a growing 
economy. We believe the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations 
should pay just a bit more toward their fair share. And we believe that 
replacing these automatic cuts in a fair and responsible way is an 
important part of moving toward an economy that works for all families, 
not just the wealthiest few.
  So I urge my colleagues to support this amendment so we can agree now 
on responsible and realistic top-line spending numbers for this year, 
so we can restore these investments in critical defense and nondefense 
programs, and so we can start to allow the appropriations committees to 
do their work and not wait until September for another crisis, another 
government shutdown, and the whole country looking at us as if we can't 
manage our way anywhere.
  If my Republican colleagues have any other ideas for how we get this 
done, my door is open, and I am ready to get to work. But I hope we can 
support this amendment when we vote on it later this afternoon so we 
can get to work and not have another summer, another fall where the 
American public looks at Congress wondering if we can't get our act 
together.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.


                           Wasteful Spending

  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I rise today to speak briefly on an 
amendment I have already submitted in the budget bill, but which also 
qualifies as a ``Waste of the Week.'' So I am going to do a two-for 
here.
  As I have said previously, I am coming to the floor every week to 
point out a waste of funds that, if eliminated and addressed, can save 
the taxpayer a lot of money. We have the thermometer growing in terms 
of the amount of money we have been able to offer--in terms of programs 
that simply are not working, can be reformed or changed or dropped, and 
save the taxpayer a lot of dollars.
  This week's waste addresses a well-intentioned Federal program that 
has moved away from its original intention of addressing an important 
social need. Officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance 
Program, or SNAP, this program is more commonly known to the American 
public as food stamps.
  This program started under President Kennedy in the early 1960s as a 
temporary lifeline to those in need. Over time, the program grew. More 
than 30 years later, the Republican Congress, with a Democratic 
President--President Clinton--reformed welfare in 1996. During that 
reform, they made reforms to the SNAP program, or the food stamp 
program by adding some qualifying information.
  These reforms required that in order to qualify for food stamps, 
able-bodied adults had to register for work and accept a job if it was 
offered to them or go to a training program in order to qualify for 
food stamps. That was in the law. It was a welfare reform program that 
was supported by both Democrats and Republicans, under a Democratic 
President and a Republican Congress, and history has shown that it 
worked.
  In 2009, our current President, President Obama, as part of the 
stimulus law, modified this program and put it in a position where it 
now is spending a lot more money, and removed essentially those 
requirements that were agreed to by both Democrats and Republicans. As 
a journalist said: Today, SNAP is ``an open-ended income-supplement 
program that discourages work.''
  According to the Wall Street Journal:

       Between 2008 and 2013, SNAP recipients grew by nearly 69%. 
     By contrast, the poverty rate increased just 16.5% during the 
     same period.

  With our economy recovering and more job opportunities becoming 
available, I have submitted this amendment to reinstate the 
requirements that was agreed to, as I said, in a bipartisan way under 
President Clinton.
  This legislation, if we make this reform, has been scored as saving 
at least $19 billion over a period of time--no small amount. It is good 
stewardship of our financial resources at a time when we need to have 
that stewardship because of the credit crunch we are now in.
  What we add here to the ever-growing thermometer that tries to take 
us to $100 billion of savings for taxpayers is a $19 billion chunk of 
savings that has been documented as achievable simply by returning the 
program to the place where it was implemented by both Republicans' and 
Democrats' support.
  In addition to the aforementioned amendment, I would also like to 
very briefly discuss two other important amendments I have submitted to 
the debate on the budget bill now before us.


                           Amendment No. 595

  Mr. President, I therefore ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside and that I be allowed to call up amendment No. 
595, and that the amendment be made pending.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Indiana [Mr. Coats], for himself and Mr. 
     Warner, propose an amendment numbered 595.

  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to improve 
                             cybersecurity)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

     SEC. 3__. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO IMPROVE 
                   CYBERSECURITY.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to increased sharing of cybersecurity threat 
     information while protecting individual privacy and civil 
     liberties interests, by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for that purpose, provided that such legislation 
     would not increase the deficit over either the period of the 
     total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the 
     total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, this amendment, which I will briefly state 
the intent of here and which I have offered, along with Senator Warner, 
would help to strengthen our cyber security defenses by calling for 
increased sharing of information on cyber security attacks and threats.
  Millions of Americans have been subject and impacted by cyber attacks 
on companies and universities, to mention a few, and the Coats-Warner 
amendment would help to strengthen our defenses against cyber attacks 
by calling for greater information sharing, but in a way that protects 
individual privacy and civil liberties.


                           Amendment No. 368

  Mr. President, I now ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment 
be set aside and that I be allowed to call up amendment No. 368, and 
that the amendment be made pending.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Indiana [Mr. Coats] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 368.

  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
   providing States the Medicaid flexibility they need to implement 
innovative reforms to improve care and enhance access for our Nation's 
                            most vulnerable)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO PROVIDING 
                   STATES THE MEDICAID FLEXIBILITY THEY NEED 
                   IMPLEMENT INNOVATIVE REFORMS TO IMPROVE CARE 
                   AND ENHANCE ACCESS FOR OUR NATION'S MOST 
                   VULNERABLE.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to Medicaid that allows States the

[[Page S1865]]

     flexibility to build off of successful State innovations to 
     ensure our Nation's most vulnerable Americans have improved 
     access to quality care while reducing taxpayer costs, by the 
     amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.

  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, this amendment calls for States to have the 
flexibility to seek innovative Medicaid reforms that can both 
strengthen the program and make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
  My State of Indiana has been a leader in innovative Medicaid reforms 
and the advancement of consumer-driven health care under the leadership 
of our former Governor Mitch Daniels and our current Governor Mike 
Pence.
  I believe States should have the opportunity to innovate the Medicaid 
Program by using flexible, accountable financing mechanisms that are 
transparent and that hold States accountable for efficiency and quality 
health care systems.
  This program, carefully developed under two Governors, has now 
provided those in Indiana, of lower income, opportunities to enter into 
a program that uses innovative, cost-saving techniques, but provides 
quality health care with participation by our providers and the 
hospitals, with participation by our State, and with requirements that 
give the consumer more choices and provide for more quality of care. It 
is something that I think can serve as a model as we go forward trying 
to address our health care needs and reform of the Affordable Care Act 
or repeal with suggested substitutes that will achieve the goals of 
providing quality care to people who are of low income but at a much 
lower price and with much less regulation than is currently within the 
ACA.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The Senator from Illinois.


                           Amendment No. 545

  Mr. KIRK. Mr. President, I would like to speak on my amendment, No. 
545, which is an amendment that stands for the principle of building on 
the work of the bipartisan Menendez-Kirk legislation to call for 
consequences should Iran cheat on its obligations of the agreement with 
the United States.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is recognized.
  Mr. KIRK. Mr. President, we should stand for the principle 
remembering the 290 Americans who have died at the hands of Iranian 
terror, including 13 Americans from Illinois. Let me read their names: 
James Lewis from Illinois, William Sheil from Illinois, Alvin Belmer, 
David Gay from Illinois, Joseph Livingston from Illinois, John A. 
Phillips, Jr., who went to church with me, Eric Pullman, and Gary R. 
Scott--all killed at the hands of Iranian terror. In the memory of 
these Americans, we want to make sure we carry out a sense of the 
Senate that expresses our views that if Iran cheats on this agreement, 
there should be sanctions.
  I call on all Members to make sure they back the old bipartisan 
coalition of Menendez-Kirk.
  I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time until 
4:45 p.m. today be equally divided between the managers or their 
designees, and that at 4:45 p.m., the Senate vote in relation to the 
following amendments in the order listed, with no second-degree 
amendments in order prior to the votes: Stabenow No. 755; Barrasso No. 
347; Sanders No. 777, as modified, on climate change; Blunt No. 350 on 
EPA; Hatch No. 796 on Medicare; Bennet-Stabenow No. 601 on Medicare; 
Murray No. 801 on sequester replacement; Cotton No. 481 on Israel.
  I further ask unanimous consent that there be 2 minutes equally 
divided between the managers or their designees prior to each vote, and 
that all votes after the first in this series be 10 minutes in length.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. ENZI. For the information of all Senators, there will be up to 
eight rollcall votes at 4:45 p.m. I allocate time to the Senator from 
Montana.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.


                           Amendment No. 388

  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, last night, I offered amendment No. 388, 
to ensure the States and local governments are the driving force behind 
the national monument designations. I ask unanimous consent to add 
Senator Hatch as a cosponsor to my amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DAINES. This is a fair and commonsense proposal that I believe 
Members on both sides of the aisle can support. Before major land 
decisions are made by the Federal Government, the people affected most 
by these decisions should have a seat at the table and have their 
voices heard. I was confused when I heard the senior Senator from 
Nevada claim this morning that my amendment would in some way gut or 
repeal law, providing the ability for national monument designations to 
take place. That is simply false. In sharp contrast, it is designated 
to strengthen the law by ensuring that the voice of the people is heard 
as designations are considered. After all, it is the people who are 
affected by these decisions, not politicians in Washington.
  As a fifth-generation Montanan and a lifelong sportsman, I treasure 
and am committed to protecting our public lands. I deeply appreciate 
that landmarks like Pompeys Pillar in Montana or Lehman's Cave in 
Nevada have been protected for future generations. But there is a 
difference between targeted designations to protect historic landmarks 
and designating hundreds or even thousands or millions of acres against 
the will of the States and local residents.
  The Senator from Nevada is saying that Washington, DC, should have 
more influence over local land use decisions than the folks in Western 
States who live and work on this land every day. I disagree. I believe 
the farmers, the ranchers, the sportsmen, the community members, and 
the State and local governments should have a say in local land 
decisions. I remind him the 1906 act was designed to prevent damage to 
specific sites of historical, scientific or cultural significance.
  As the law States, ``. . . the smallest area compatible with the 
proper care in management of objects to be protected.'' The law was not 
intended to block out access or damage operation of nearby landowners. 
The law was not intended to be used as a way for a President, as they 
are leaving office, to unilaterally make decisions without consulting 
the States in the local communities.
  Strengthening the role of locally impacted residents and States is 
vitally important because, unfortunately, Presidents of both parties 
have also abused the Antiquities Act, designating unjustifiably 
excessive, large-scale pieces of ground through unilateral action 
despite local opposition from land users.
  Let me remind the Senator from Nevada of the Grand Staircase-
Escalante National Monument designation. Local residents oppose that 
designation. Since the monument was designated in 1996, there has been 
a reduction in grazing. Development of a large coal mine has stopped. 
Local rural communities are struggling.
  Wouldn't it have been better to protect the Grand Staircase in a way 
that also protected local communities? Look to New Mexico, where the 
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument was designated in 2014 
May against the will of local communities.
  Representative Steve Pearce had a bill to protect 50,000 acres of 
land, which he worked with local residents and affected communities to 
implement. That bill was ignored, and the administration instead 
introduced a monument of 500,000 acres that touches all the way to the 
Mexican border.
  During President Obama's first term, an internal document surfaced 
from the Interior Department revealing the Obama administration's plans 
to use the Antiquities Act to designate 14 new national monuments, 
comprising millions of acres across our country. One of the areas on 
the list is 2.5 million acres of land across northern Montana, 
connecting Canada's Grasslands National Park to the Bitter Creek 
Wilderness Study Area. Right in the middle of this designation are 
significant swaths of public lands. This potential designation is very 
contentious in Montana, which I believe Montanans must have a voice in 
determining whether it goes forward.

[[Page S1866]]

  During a recent House Natural Resources Committee hearing, Interior 
Secretary Sally Jewell confirmed that she wants public input and local 
input in Antiquities Act designations. So why would anyone oppose 
elevating State and local input in these designations?
  Despite the claims made by the Senator from Nevada, my amendment will 
not repeal the Antiquities Act. It is not going to gut the law. It will 
not repeal existing protections on our national parks and national 
monuments. It will not prevent future designations from being made. My 
amendment simply ensures that local residents and the States have a 
meaningful voice in determining monument designations.
  In 2010, former Interior Secretary Salazar stated during a Senate 
hearing that the administration would have a conversation and dialogue 
with people locally and across the country before any monument 
designations occur.
  My amendment simply holds this and future administrations accountable 
to what they said they would do, and it protects the voice of the 
people in decisions such as this. Protecting the voice of the people 
should not offend Members of this body. It should be our abiding 
commitment. It should be our priority.


                           Amendment No. 465

  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up amendment No. 465.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Montana [Mr. Daines] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 465.

  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
                        Second Amendment rights)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

     SEC. 3__. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO SECOND 
                   AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to upholding Second Amendment rights, which shall 
     include preventing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, 
     and Explosives from impinging upon those rights, by the 
     amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.

  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, my amendment will establish a deficit-
neutral reserve fund for legislation to make sure the ATF does not 
infringe on our Second Amendment freedoms. This amendment ensures that 
American sportsmen aren't left with empty relics good for nothing more 
than mounting on the mantel, symbols of a bygone era of American 
freedom, until even the relics are taken.


                           Amendment No. 387

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending 
amendment and call up amendment No. 387.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Montana [Mr. Daines] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 387.

  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
                             postal reform)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO POSTAL 
                   REFORM.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to the United States Postal Service, which may 
     include measures addressing the nonprofit postal discount for 
     State and national political committees, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not increase the deficit over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2025.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, article I, section 8, clause 7, of the 
U.S. Constitution specifically provides for the establishment of the 
U.S. Postal Service. However, the Postal Service currently teeters on 
the brink of insolvency. In fact, a January 2015 Congressional Research 
Service report states that the Postal Service has reached its statutory 
borrowing limit of $15 billion and has run up more than $40 billion in 
deficits since fiscal year 2007. However in the midst of the Postal 
Service's financially tenuous circumstance, State and national 
political committees are granted postal discounts which can amount to 
as high as a 26-percent reduction in the standard rate paid by 
nonprivileged users.
  Congress would do well to put State and national local committees on 
the same playing field as ordinary Americans. The Postal Service would 
certainly benefit from these groups paying the ordinary postage rate. 
Particularly in rural States like Montana, the Postal Service plays an 
important role in the vitality of our communities, and it connects 
people. Accordingly, I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting 
budget amendment No. 387, which would signal the Senate's willingness 
to address the postage discount it provides to State and national 
political committees.
  I thank the Chair. I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I rise to speak in opposition to the 
Republican budget resolution. I would ask--there are time restraints 
here. I will go as far in my speech as I can and then ask the remainder 
be included in the Record.
  Mr. SANDERS. The Senator has 8 minutes.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Please let me know--is that done without objection?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Can the Presiding Officer tell me when 7 minutes have 
elapsed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will be so notified.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, the budget the Republicans in the Senate 
have presented us with imagines a future where we give even more tax 
breaks to millionaires and special interests, while pulling the rug out 
from under working families. Instead of addressing the major challenge 
facing our Nation today--that middle-class families continue to face an 
economy rigged against them and their efforts to attain a better future 
for themselves and their family--this budget is fundamentally 
misaligned with the values of working Americans.
  Over the last 30 years, we have seen Wall Street and giant 
corporations make record profits and middle-class families have been 
left behind. According to the Economic Policy Institute, over the last 
30 years, wages for the top 1 percent rose almost 10 times as fast as 
those for the bottom 90 percent. Last year, Oxfam calculated that the 
400 wealthiest individuals in our country have more wealth than the 
bottom 150 million Americans. As a result, today the concentration of 
income at the very top has risen to levels last seen in the 1920s--a 
time of vast inequality that ended in economic disaster for our entire 
Nation.

  We have a responsibility to turn back this dangerous trend, and 
Minnesotans know how to do it. We have done it in Minnesota. We know 
how to grow our economy. We know that we grow it from the middle out, 
not the top down.
  Paul Wellstone had a saying: We all do better when we all do better. 
And we all do better when people in the middle have money to spend. A 
higher percentage of middle-class people are entrepreneurs. There is 
more social and economic mobility when there is a strong middle class. 
We all do better when we all do better. Even those at the top do 
better. We saw that during the Clinton administration when every 
quintile was helped.
  Minnesotans know that a middle-class budget would ensure health care

[[Page S1867]]

access and fair workplaces for all Americans so that families can 
concentrate on doing the best job they can as workers, community 
members, parents, daughters, and sons instead of worrying about whether 
taking time off for a sick child will get them fired or whether a long-
term illness will bankrupt their family.
  So we could and we should be crafting a budget that supports middle-
class families and those aspiring to be in the middle class. Opening up 
economic opportunity, helping to lay the foundation for economic 
growth, and supporting innovation are key to a dynamic economy.
  We could have a budget that makes smart investments, finds sensible 
savings, and makes sure everyone is paying their fair share of taxes, 
but that is not the budget the Republicans have crafted. Instead of 
stability and opportunity for the middle-class Minnesotans, the 
Republican budget proposal would slash billions of dollars in 
investments that grow our economy. The Republican budget would do 
nothing to close the loopholes that disproportionately benefit large 
corporations and superwealthy individuals.
  Since 2010, we have seen more than $4 in spending cuts for every $1 
in revenue. The new Republican budget would make that situation even 
worse. This budget would bring that to $10 in spending for every $1 in 
revenue, and these cuts are coming directly at the expense of programs 
that serve middle and lower income families.
  The budget would cut over $6 million in job-creating research in my 
State of Minnesota alone, where we are making crucial investments in 
areas such as renewable energy and health innovations. In fact, the 
Economic Policy Institute says the cuts in the Republican budget would 
result in over 45,000 jobs lost in Minnesota. It would also cut funds 
for workforce training to help Minnesotans compete for 21st-century 
jobs. Over 35,000 workers would lose access to training opportunities, 
according to the Department of Labor. Considering the skills gap that 
every Senator on this floor acknowledges to me exists in their States, 
that just makes no sense whatsoever.
  The Republicans would cut education in their budget. We are talking 
about Head Start Programs. The Republican budget would cut 620,000 
children from Head Start. We would lose those slots over 10 years. In 
Minnesota, that means 883 fewer slots for preschoolers who would 
benefit from early childhood programs.
  I will tell you something about Head Start. This quality early 
childhood education program has a return on investments of $8 to $16 
per child, and I will explain why. A child who has had a quality early 
childhood education is less likely to be in special education, less 
likely to be left back a grade, and has better health care outcomes. 
The girls are less likely to get pregnant in adolescence. They graduate 
from high school at a higher rate. They are more likely to go to 
college, graduate from college, have better jobs, pay more taxes, and 
they are much less likely to go to prison. That is why you have an $8 
to $16 return for each kid who has a quality early childhood education. 
This is wrong. It is also wrong because kids are only 3 years old once, 
and they are beautiful children. They deserve this, and their parents 
deserve this. This is wrongheaded.
  The Republican budget not only hits early childhood education, it 
hits Pell grants. In Minnesota, 160,000 students last year were able to 
go to college because of the Pell Grant Program. When my wife Franni 
and I went to college, a full Pell grant paid for almost 80 percent of 
a full public college education. Today, it pays for less than 35 
percent. Further cuts will make it even harder for students to pay for 
college. Yet my colleagues want to cut Pell grants further. We should 
not be doing that, and that is why I am offering an amendment to 
restore funding for Pell Grants in this budget.
  And that is also why I have worked with Senator Warren on the 
amendment to make higher education more affordable by allowing 
Americans to refinance student debt. Student debt is now over $1.3 
trillion and this is holding back our economy because recent grads are 
less likely to buy a home, start a new business, or purchase other big-
ticket items like a car because they are tied to this debt. 
Unfortunately, our amendment failed, but I am going to keep working 
with Senator Warren on this commonsense issue.
  One of the other keys to prosperity is infrastructure, and 
unfortunately, the Republican budget does nothing to address our 
Nation's crumbling roads, bridges, dams, levees, water systems, waste 
water plants, airports, and rail systems. And yet investing in 
infrastructure is one of the best ways to help businesses and create 
millions of middle-class jobs in the short and long-term.
  As I said, the Republican budget also seeks to repeal the Affordable 
Care Act, even though we know that 16.5 million Americans now have 
health coverage because of the Affordable Care Act. In Minnesota, since 
the Affordable Care Act fully went into effect, the uninsured rate has 
dropped by over 40 percent, and now 95 percent of Minnesotans have 
health insurance. But under the Republican budget, we would go back to 
the days when someone with a pre-existing condition could not get 
health insurance. We would go back to the days when half the 
bankruptcies in this country were linked to someone getting sick, and 
back to the days when women were charged more than men for health 
insurance.
  That is not what Americans want. Americans don't want to go back to 
the days of high-cost, low value health care.
  Americans don't want a budget that will undercut the very sources of 
prosperity for the middle class. We can afford to make the investments 
we need for the future, and do it in a fiscally responsible way. Part 
of that is fixing our broken Tax Code. Our economy loses hundreds of 
billions of dollars from a wasteful, inefficient, and, frankly, unfair 
Tax Code riddled with loopholes. If we reform our Tax Code to make it 
fairer and more efficient--by doing things like closing the loophole on 
what is called carried interest--we can afford to invest in education, 
infrastructure, and innovation to help American workers compete in the 
global economy.
  Instead, the Republican budget would allow U.S. companies to continue 
to shift billions in profits to tax havens and middle-class jobs 
overseas. It allows millionaires and billionaires to pay lower rates on 
their income than many middle-class taxpayers.
  On top of this, the Republican budget leaves the deck stacked in 
favor of the rights of big corporations and Wall Street ahead of 
American workers. Americans want a fair chance. They want equal pay for 
equal work. They want us to preserve the promise of Social Security for 
their generation and generations to come. And they want everyone who 
works full time to be able to keep their family out of poverty. These 
are the things that could be in a budget that supports the middle 
class.
  Finally, let me note that the Republican budget is filled with 
fiscally irresponsible budget gimmicks. Not only is it very vague about 
a lot of the cuts it would make, the budget also uses an off the books 
account, the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund, which falls outside 
of the budget caps, to significantly increase defense spending without 
paying for it. And even as the Republican budget repeals the Affordable 
Care Act, it doesn't say how it will replace the savings and revenue 
from the bill. This isn't even smoke and mirrors, it is right out there 
for us to see. This budget also repeals a rule the Senate has had in 
place since 2007 to prohibit reconciliation legislation that would 
increase the deficit.
  Again, the Republican's budget plan for America is fundamentally out 
of step with the values of working Americans. It's the same tired 
trickle-down plan we have seen fail time and time again. It's a plan 
that says we can reduce our deficit and spend billions more on defense 
without raising a nickel of new revenue. It's a plan that says we can 
grow our economy by cutting health care for seniors and children and 
the poorest in our society. It's a plan that says that cutting pre-
school and college aid is a better investment than closing tax 
loopholes that encourage giant, multinational corporations to use 
elaborate accounting tricks and ship jobs overseas. This plan just 
doesn't make sense.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has consumed 7 minutes.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I will end by saying that this is not 
even

[[Page S1868]]

smoke and mirrors; this is riddled with gimmicks and is fundamentally 
unfair to working Americans. It is the same trickle-down economics that 
we have seen fail time and time again.
  I urge my colleagues to reject this budget and embrace a real plan 
that supports middle-class families and those aspiring to the middle 
class. We need a budget that builds on the progress we made since the 
great recession and takes us into a better future for all Americans.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. How much time does the Democratic side have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic side has 5 minutes remaining.


                           Amendment No. 350

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I wish to respond and speak as to why I 
am in opposition to the Blunt amendment which requires a point of order 
for a carbon tax.
  The scientific community is not in debate. The scientific community 
tells us that climate change is real. It is caused by human activity 
and by a very significant increase in carbon emissions. The scientific 
community tells us that climate change is already causing devastating 
problems in our Nation and around the world. The scientific community 
tells us that if we do not get our act together--not just the United 
States but China, Russia, India, and the entire world--the planet we 
will be leaving for our kids and grandchildren will be substantially 
less habitable than the planet we enjoy.
  We have a moral responsibility to respond to this crisis, and we have 
to use every tool we can in our arsenal. What does that mean? It means 
we need to invest heavily in weatherization and energy efficiency so we 
don't waste energy. It means we have to move aggressively toward wind, 
solar, geothermal, biomass, and other sustainable energies. It also 
means we have to tell those people who are producing carbon in 
significant amounts and are causing the problem that they cannot 
continue to do that with impunity. They will have to pay a tax on that.
  We can argue about how we go forward in transforming our energy 
system and how we cut carbon pollution, but we should not pick out one 
particular approach and say that it is going to require 60 votes to go 
forward.
  I strongly object to Senator Blunt's amendment.
  What we will be doing is offering a side-by-side. This side-by-side 
could not be simpler. The American people and the scientific community 
are pretty clear when it comes to climate change: It is, in fact, real, 
and it is caused by human activity. What we will do is offer a side-by-
side to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to recognize that 
climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and that Congress 
needs to take action to cut carbon pollution.
  Young people all over this country want action. While many of my 
Republican colleagues refuse to acknowledge the reality that climate 
change is caused by human activity, many Republicans outside of Capitol 
Hill, in fact, do understand that. We have prominent conservative 
economists and economic advisers, such as Nobel laureate economist Gary 
Becker, Mitt Romney's former economic adviser Gregory Mankiw, and 
former Reagan adviser Art Laffer, who have all called for taxing 
carbon. It is not a radical idea. These are conservative Republicans 
who understand that people who are causing the problem cannot do that 
with impunity.
  More recently, George Shultz--I think we all know George Shultz is 
the former Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State under 
Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan--published an op-ed in the 
Washington Post calling for a carbon tax. The idea of a carbon tax is 
something that is gaining more and more support from Democrats, 
Republicans, Independents, people who are very worried about what is 
happening to our environment.
  In terms of the side-by-side, I personally am strongly opposed to 
Senator Blunt's amendment, which just looks at a tax on carbon. I 
should also say that as a coauthor, along with Senator Boxer, with 
regard to a carbon tax, we put huge amounts of money into helping those 
families who might see higher utility bills. That is probably the main 
source of funding allocation. So we are aware of the problem, and we 
address it in our legislation, and it should be addressed in any 
legislation.
  But once again, in terms of the side-by-side, we are going to give 
our Republican colleagues an opportunity----
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democrat's time has expired.
  The Senator from Oregon.


                           Amendment No. 434

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up my amendment No. 434.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the amendment.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Oregon [Mr. Wyden], for himself and Mr. 
     Crapo, proposes an amendment numbered 434.

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To provide for an adjustment to committee allocations for 
                     wildfire suppression funding)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. ADJUSTMENT FOR WILDFIRE SUPPRESSION FUNDING.

       If a measure becomes law that amends the adjustments to 
     discretionary spending limits established under section 
     251(b) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control 
     Act of 1985 (2 U.S.C. 901(b)) for wildfire suppression 
     funding, the Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the 
     Senate may adjust the allocation called for in section 302(a) 
     of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 633(a)) to 
     the appropriate committee or committees of the Senate, and 
     may adjust all other budgetary aggregates, allocations, 
     levels, and limits contained in this resolution, as 
     necessary, consistent with such measure.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.


                     Amendment No. 777, as Modified

  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, since my friend from across the aisle raised 
the issue of climate change, I will use the remainder of my time to 
talk about that issue because I will urge my colleagues to vote no on 
amendment No. 777.
  We voted earlier--and it was a unanimous vote--that climate change is 
real. I believe virtually everyone agrees that over time the Earth's 
climate has shifted at various levels of speed and in various 
directions.
  I had an opportunity to go on a trip to China, and we visited one of 
the country's labs researching climate change. I had the opportunity to 
tour the lab with the Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin. One of the 
amazing things was--as we finished the tour after looking at five 
different ways the scientists were measuring what caused climate change 
and how real it was--when Senator Durbin said to me: I am sure glad 
Senator Inhofe is not with us because this backs up everything Senator 
Inhofe has been saying.
  So climate change is an issue that has not really been resolved among 
all the scientists, even in some countries that have different opinions 
than we do.
  Every snowstorm, every heat wave that we have today--we have changed 
it from global warming to climate change because now we are blaming 
everything on this phenomenon. One of the comments I made is that 
instead of spending $5 billion on one side to prove there is climate 
change and another $5 billion on the other side to disprove climate 
change, maybe we ought to spend $10 billion a year just on fixing 
things.
  So I think there are some problems with the amendment, and I hope my 
colleagues will vote no.
  I see that it is almost time for the vote, so I yield back our time.
  Go ahead and start on the vote.


                           Amendment No. 755

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to 
amendment No. 755, offered by the Senator from Michigan, Ms. Stabenow.
  The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to support the 
Stabenow amendment.
  This amendment would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund that 
would do a few things. First of all, it would

[[Page S1869]]

ensure that the Clean Water Act is focused on protecting water quality, 
upholding the existing exemption in the Clean Water Act for 
agriculture, ranching, and forestry that has existed for decades so our 
foresters and ranchers have the certainty they need. It would ensure 
that we rely on scientific evidence as we examine the impact that water 
quality has on the different types of water bodies, and it provides 
certainty to landowners and rural communities that are guided by the 
scope of the Clean Water Act.
  I appreciate my colleague from Wyoming and his approach. I believe 
mine is much more specific. It is deficit neutral instead of spending 
neutral, so it allows us to offset any changes we would like to make to 
support these efforts through either revenues or spending cuts as 
opposed to a spending-neutral reserve fund. Most importantly, it makes 
very clear support for both the Clean Water Act and agriculture.
  I thank the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.
  The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. We would be happy to take that amendment. We would prefer 
to do that by voice vote because we have a lot of votes pending.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I actually would prefer a recorded 
rollcall vote. I appreciate that offer, but I would ask for a recorded 
rollcall vote.
  I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I support the Stabenow amendment. 
Ranchers and property owners in rural America think the EPA is out of 
control. I agree. It is right to rein in the EPA and restore current 
protections and exemptions for rural America.
  A key area where the Stabenow amendment falls short is excluding 
cities, suburbs, and the job-creating businesses and working families 
that reside outside of rural America.
  My amendment, which will be next, addresses concerns raised by the 
U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties, 
which want certainty regarding the EPA's power grab.
  The Senator from Michigan does things to protect farmers and ranchers 
from the EPA. My amendment is supported by the American Farm Bureau. 
This support is because my amendment is specific and holds the EPA and 
the Corps to the promises they have already made.
  I thank the Chair.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, we yield back the time in opposition.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, if there is time remaining, I would 
simply say that I think our amendment is stronger and much more 
specific. Also, it upholds two goals: supporting the Clean Water Act, 
which has for 40 years protected us with clean fishing and drinking 
water--and in our beautiful Great Lakes, certainly all that we hold 
dear--but it also clarifies specifics for agriculture, ranchers, 
foresters, and communities.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The yeas and nays have been ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Texas (Mr. Cruz).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 99, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 87 Leg.]

                                YEAS--99

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Booker
     Boozman
     Boxer
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Capito
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coons
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Daines
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Flake
     Franken
     Gardner
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kaine
     King
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Lankford
     Leahy
     Lee
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCain
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Paul
     Perdue
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Reid
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sanders
     Sasse
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Stabenow
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Udall
     Vitter
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     Cruz
       
  The amendment (No. 755) was agreed to.


                           Amendment No. 347

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to 
amendment No. 347, offered by the Senator from Wyoming, Mr. Barrasso.
  The Senator from Wyoming.


                           Amendment No. 347

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I rise in support of my amendment No. 
347, an amendment to hold the EPA and the Army Corps to their word 
about the scope of their proposed waters of the United States rule. The 
administration says there is a lot of misunderstanding with their 
proposed waters of the United States regulation and what it covers.
  Time and time again, we have heard from the EPA and the Corps that 
this rule would not cover things such as puddles, rainwater, snowmelt, 
and irrigation ditches. The Barrasso amendment would help to make sure 
this rule is crystal clear by listing out those things the EPA and the 
Corps have indicated or led folks to believe would not be covered under 
the rule.
  So if you believe the waters of the United States rule does not go 
far enough, that the Federal Government should be in the business of 
regulating puddles in our constituents' backyards, then vote against my 
amendment. That is what voting against my amendment would mean. That is 
why I urge a ``yes'' vote on this amendment to protect the waters of 
the United States.
  I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, we just voted together on a very 
specific amendment that makes it clear that all of our traditional 
agriculture, forestry efforts, all of the local government efforts that 
are occurring in this country right now will continue even under a 
revised clean water rule, which, by the way, is only having to be done 
because of two Supreme Court decisions that created a tremendous amount 
of confusion for communities and farmers and ranchers.
  Unfortunately, regardless of what was just said, the Barrasso 
amendment is very general, very broad. It does not add any clarity. It 
would keep the confusion that is out there. I would urge that we vote 
no. We have already made a clear statement here in the Senate. We do 
not need to go back to what the Supreme Court did when in 2006 they had 
five different opinions coming from nine different Justices and created 
chaos. We do not need two different amendments that say two different 
things. We just did something very clear and specific. Let's hold that 
and vote no.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The yeas and nays have been ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Texas (Mr. Cruz).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 59, nays 40, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 88 Leg.]

                                YEAS--59

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Daines
     Donnelly
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heitkamp
     Heller

[[Page S1870]]


     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     King
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Lankford
     Lee
     Manchin
     McCain
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Wicker

                                NAYS--40

     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Boxer
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Heinrich
     Hirono
     Kaine
     Leahy
     Markey
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Reed
     Reid
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
       
     Cruz
       
  The amendment (No. 347) was agreed to.


                     Amendment No. 777, as Modified

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to 
amendment No. 777, as modified, offered by the Senator from Vermont, 
Mr. Sanders.
  The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, this amendment could not be simpler.
  The scientific community has been very clear in telling us that 
climate change is the great environmental crisis of our time. It is 
caused by human activity, it is real, and it is already causing 
devastating problems in the United States and throughout the world.
  This amendment establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to 
recognize that climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, 
and that Congress needs to take action to cut carbon pollution.
  Let us stand with science. Let's pass this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.


                      Amendment No. 350 Withdrawn

  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, without using the minute from our side, I 
ask unanimous consent to withdraw Blunt amendment No. 350.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is withdrawn.


                     Amendment No. 777, as Modified

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, this really wasn't the week of the Senator 
from Vermont. In an article in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, ``The 
Myth of the Climate Change `97%,' '' they say the 97 percent figure 
came from 79 respondents out of 3,146.
  Secondly, today is the day they finalized the annual Gallup poll. The 
Gallup poll came out and made the statements that came to the 
conclusion that the current level of worry on global warming and 
climate remains at record lows, right behind the loss of tropical rain 
forests.
  So don't vote for this based on the assumption that the 97 percent 
figure is accurate or that people care that much.
  Mr. SANDERS. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the Sanders amendment No. 777, as 
modified.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Texas (Mr. Cruz).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 49, nays 50, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 89 Leg.]

                                YEAS--49

     Ayotte
     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Boxer
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Collins
     Coons
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Heinrich
     Hirono
     Kaine
     King
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Reid
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--50

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Coats
     Cochran
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Lankford
     Lee
     Manchin
     McCain
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
       
     Cruz
       
  The amendment (No. 777), as modified, was rejected.


                           Amendment No. 796

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to 
amendment No. 796, offered by the Senator from Utah, Mr. Hatch.
  The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, we all know Medicare is on an unsustainable 
course. Independent actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid 
Services--CMS--estimate that, over the next 75 years, the program has 
$35 trillion--that is with a T--in unfunded obligations.
  CBO says that, without reforms, Medicare's hospital insurance trust 
fund will be insolvent early in the decade following 2025. And 
according to the Medicare trustees themselves, the hospital insurance 
trust fund could be insolvent as early as 2021. At that time Medicare 
will no longer be able to pay out full benefits to seniors.
  We need to reform Medicare in order to save Medicare. We have a moral 
obligation to put Medicare on a sustainable path. It is crucial we 
ensure its solvency into the decade if we want to keep the promise we 
have made to those at or near retirement.
  That is where we are, and that is about all I am going to say about 
it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time in opposition?
  There is 45 seconds remaining in opposition to the amendment.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I think there is no objection to the 
amendment on this side. If the Senator would like a voice vote, we 
would be fine with that.
  Mr. HATCH. A voice vote would be fine.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. If there is no further debate, the question is 
on agreeing to the amendment.
  The amendment (No. 796) was agreed to.


                           Amendment No. 601

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is now 2 minutes of debate prior to a 
vote in relation to amendment No. 601.
  The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, I rise today in offering an amendment with 
Senator Stabenow to guarantee we keep a sacred promise to our Nation's 
seniors to protect the Medicare Program for years to come.
  The budget we have in front of us doesn't balance our values or 
priorities as a country. Unfortunately, it misses the mark entirely for 
our seniors. To put it into perspective, the Senate Republican budget 
cuts the Medicare Program by almost three times as much as the House 
Republican budget.
  My amendment ensures we protect our seniors from any effort to cut 
Medicare beneficiaries' guaranteed benefits, privatize Medicare into a 
premium support plan or increase out-of-pocket spending on drugs or 
prevention services.
  In 2013, over half the Medicare beneficiaries had incomes below 
$23,000 a year. We can't attempt to balance the Nation's budget on the 
backs of our seniors. There is a reason why the National Committee to 
Preserve Social Security and Medicare is urging a ``yes'' vote on this 
amendment and a ``no'' vote on the Republican budget.
  I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the Bennet-Stabenow 
amendment, and I yield whatever time remains to the senior Senator from 
Michigan.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I will raise a point of order against this 
amendment. The amendment offered by my

[[Page S1871]]

friends across the aisle would prohibit consideration of certain 
Medicare legislation.
  I know all my colleagues are committed to preserving Medicare. We all 
want Medicare to be there for today's and tomorrow's seniors, and right 
now its finances are deteriorating rapidly. However, my colleague's 
amendment is not germane to the budget resolution.
  The Committee on Finance has jurisdiction over the Medicare program. 
The Committee on the Budget does not. The Bennet-Stabenow amendment 
instructs the Committee on Finance how to write a Medicare reform 
bill--language that is inappropriate to include in a budget resolution. 
In fact, adopting this amendment would kill the privilege of the budget 
resolution.
  For this reason, I am compelled, as chairman of the Committee on the 
Budget, to raise a point of order against the amendment.
  Mr. President, the pending amendment, No. 601, is not germane to the 
budget resolution now before the Senate. Therefore, I raise a point of 
order against this amendment under section 305(b)2 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974, and I ask for the yeas and nays.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, pursuant to section 904 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, I move to waive all applicable 
sections of that act for the purpose of the pending amendment. I ask 
for the yeas and nays on protecting Medicare.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Texas (Mr. Cruz).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tillis). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 46, nays 53, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 90 Leg.]

                                YEAS--46

     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Boxer
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Collins
     Coons
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     King
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Reed
     Reid
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--53

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Coats
     Cochran
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kaine
     Kirk
     Lankford
     Lee
     McCain
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Warner
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     Cruz
       
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 46, the nays are 
53.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted 
in the affirmative, the motion is rejected. The point of order is 
sustained and the amendment fails.


                           Amendment No. 801

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to 
amendment No. 801, offered by the Senator from Washington, Mrs. Murray.
  The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, Democrats and Republicans agree that the 
automatic spending cuts across defense and nondefense investments are 
terrible policy, and it has to be fixed.
  I am proud that the bipartisan budget act that we passed last 
Congress did exactly that for the past 2 years. It offered us a 
template for how we can tackle this challenge in a bipartisan way once 
again. That deal succeeded because it rolled back cuts to defense and 
nondefense equally, and it did it with a balanced and responsible mix 
of savings and new revenue.
  The amendment before us builds on that deal and extends the sequester 
relief for 2 more years. We don't need to rely on gimmicks in this 
budget or the hopes that we are going to solve this later. We need to 
fix this now.
  In 2013, it took a government shutdown to bring both sides to the 
table to get a deal for this. I am hoping we don't have to wait for 
another crisis, and I encourage our colleagues who oppose sequestration 
to support this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, if we want to change the Budget Control Act 
of 2011, we need to pass the bill to do so later in the year. The 
budget resolution cannot fix sequestration. This particular amendment 
increases both defense spending and nondefense spending. Without a 
justification, it calls for spending $148 billion more than allowed by 
the BCA. The BCA requires the defense program to receive half of the 
reductions. That is not the case here. With nondefense limits, much 
work remains to eliminate inefficiencies in the nondefense side of the 
ledger.
  According to the CBO, there are 260 programs spending $293 billion in 
the 2015 budget that are not operating under a current authorization. 
That means the policy experts haven't done their work. So we can't tell 
if we need that much more money.
  This amendment seeks more money for nondefense. This amendment calls 
for an increase in spending and pays for it by extracting more taxes 
from American taxpayers. The tax increases in this amendment total $120 
billion. Finally, perhaps the most important reason----
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. ENZI. I ask for a ``no'' vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment 
offered by the Senator from Washington, Mrs. Murray.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Texas (Mr. Cruz).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 46, nays 53, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 91 Leg.]

                                YEAS--46

     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Boxer
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Hirono
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Reed
     Reid
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--53

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kirk
     Lankford
     Lee
     McCain
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     Cruz
       
  The amendment (No. 801) was rejected.


                           Amendment No. 481

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to 
amendment No. 481, offered by the Senator from Arkansas, Mr. Cotton.
  The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, for decades, this Congress has provided 
bipartisan support to the U.S.-Israel alliance in part because the 
support of the

[[Page S1872]]

American people for the Israeli people is so strong. Unfortunately, for 
almost as long, the United Nations has singled out Israel for unfair, 
discriminatory treatment, whether it is the 1975 Zionism is Racism 
Resolution or the recent obsession of the Human Rights Council.
  It has been the longstanding U.S. policy to prevent unfair, 
discriminatory treatment against Israel at the United Nations and other 
international institutions. I believe it is urgent that this Congress 
reaffirm that policy.
  This amendment will allow a funding mechanism to adjust funding to 
the United Nations or other international institutions should they 
target Israel for unfair, discriminatory treatment. I hope we never 
need this mechanism, but I believe it is critical that Congress 
reaffirm our commitment to the U.S.-Israel alliance in preventing 
unfair, discriminatory treatment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time in opposition?
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I believe there is general support on 
this side of the floor for that amendment, and I suggest a voice vote.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the amendment offered by the Senator 
from Arkansas, Mr. Cotton.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Texas (Mr. Cruz).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 99, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 92 Leg.]

                                YEAS--99

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Booker
     Boozman
     Boxer
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Capito
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coons
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Daines
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Flake
     Franken
     Gardner
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kaine
     King
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Lankford
     Leahy
     Lee
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCain
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Paul
     Perdue
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Reid
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sanders
     Sasse
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Stabenow
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Udall
     Vitter
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     Cruz
       
  The amendment (No. 481) was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, just to get things in order here, I 
ask unanimous consent that first Senator Paul be recognized to call up 
an amendment and then after that, that Senator Wyden be recognized to 
call up an amendment and for 3 minutes; that Senator Coons be 
recognized to call up an amendment and for 3 minutes; that Senator 
Baldwin be recognized to call up an amendment and for 2 minutes; that 
Senator Manchin be recognized to call up an amendment and for 3 
minutes; and then I be recognized to call up an amendment.
  Mr. SANDERS. Reserving the right to object, I would like 1 minute to 
bring forth eight amendments.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Can we let Senator Paul, who is simply calling up an 
amendment, proceed first?
  Mr. SANDERS. Sure.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I so modify my request.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection to the request, as 
modified?
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, are they 
going back and forth or exactly in that order? Normally, we allow both 
sides.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Will the Senator restate?
  Mr. ENZI. I was suggesting that he revise his unanimous consent 
request so that we would go back and forth from side to side, rather 
than a whole lot of people going on one side, and people waiting on the 
other side.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the further 
modification?
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Just a clarification. As I understand it, the order I 
asked will be the order on the Democratic side. There will be an 
interspersing of Republicans as they come to the floor, but everybody 
is going to be kept to 2 or 3 minutes rather than there being long 
speeches because if someone is going to give a long speech, they should 
go to the end. We are just trying to call up a lot of amendments 
quickly.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Reserving the right to object, the Senator from Kentucky 
and I would just like to make our amendments pending. If we could just 
get that done.
  Mr. SANDERS. So would we.
  Mr. McCAIN. Good.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the request as further 
modified is so ordered.
  The Senator from Kentucky.


                           Amendment No. 940

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up my amendment No. 940.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Paul] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 940.

  Mr. PAUL. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment 
be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To increase new budget authority for fiscal years 2016 and 
2017 and modify outlays for fiscal years 2016 through 2022 for National 
              Defense (budget function 050) with offsets)

       On page 14, line 2, increase the amount by $76,513,000,000.
       On page 14, line 3, increase the amount by $48,578,000,000.
       On page 14, line 6, increase the amount by 
     $112,990,000,000.
       On page 14, line 7, increase the amount by $87,604,000,000.
       On page 14, line 11, increase the amount by 
     $29,603,000,000.
       On page 14, line 15, increase the amount by 
     $11,863,000,000.
       On page 14, line 19, increase the amount by $6,396,000,000.
       On page 14, line 23, increase the amount by $3,274,000,000.
       On page 15, line 19, decrease the amount by 
     $21,000,000,000.
       On page 15, line 20, decrease the amount by 
     $15,750,000,000.
       On page 15, line 23, decrease the amount by 
     $21,000,000,000.
       On page 15, line 24, decrease the amount by 
     $19,950,000,000.
       On page 16, line 3, decrease the amount by $4,998,000,000.
       On page 16, line 7, decrease the amount by $15,498,000,000.
       On page 16, line 11, decrease the amount by 
     $14,700,000,000.
       On page 17, line 12, decrease the amount by 
     $14,000,000,000.
       On page 17, line 13, decrease the amount by $9,100,000,000.
       On page 17, line 16, decrease the amount by 
     $14,000,000,000.
       On page 17, line 17, decrease the amount by 
     $11,900,000,000.
       On page 17, line 21, decrease the amount by $4,200,000,000.
       On page 17, line 25, decrease the amount by $2,100,000,000.
       On page 18, line 4, decrease the amount by $700,000,000.
       On page 20, line 13, decrease the amount by 
     $10,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 14, decrease the amount by $6,500,000,000.
       On page 20, line 17, decrease the amount by 
     $10,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 18, decrease the amount by $8,500,000,000.
       On page 20, line 22, decrease the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 21, line 1, decrease the amount by $1,500,000,000.
       On page 21, line 5, decrease the amount by $500,000,000.
       On page 28, line 20, decrease the amount by 
     $20,000,000,000.
       On page 28, line 21, decrease the amount by 
     $10,920,000,000.
       On page 28, line 24, decrease the amount by 
     $20,000,000,000.
       On page 28, line 25, decrease the amount by 
     $13,720,000,000.
       On page 29, line 4, decrease the amount by $3,080,000,000.

[[Page S1873]]

       On page 29, line 8, decrease the amount by $280,000,000.
       On page 33, line 19, decrease the amount by 
     $41,000,000,000.
       On page 33, line 20, decrease the amount by 
     $29,520,000,000.
       On page 33, line 23, decrease the amount by 
     $41,000,000,000.
       On page 33, line 24, decrease the amount by 
     $41,000,000,000.
       On page 34, line 3, decrease the amount by $11,480,000,000.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.


      Amendment Nos. 697, 798, 800, 812, 951, 345, and 817 En Bloc

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment to call up the following amendments en bloc: 
amendment Nos. 697, 798, 800, 812, 951, 345, and 817.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to calling up the 
amendments en bloc?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           amendment no. 697

 (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation 
    that reforms and strengthens elementary and secondary education)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

     SEC. 3__. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND FOR ELEMENTARY AND 
                   SECONDARY EDUCATION.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to reforming and strengthening elementary and 
     secondary education by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           amendment no. 798

 (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation 
               to allow Americans to earn paid sick time)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

     SEC. 3__. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND FOR LEGISLATION TO 
                   ALLOW AMERICANS TO EARN PAID SICK TIME.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to efforts to improve workplace benefits and reduce 
     health care costs, which may include measures to allow 
     Americans to earn paid sick time to address their own health 
     needs and the health needs of their families, and to promote 
     equal employment opportunities, by the amounts provided in 
     such legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

                           amendment no. 800

  (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to a 
            comprehensive approach to crude-by-rail safety)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

     SEC. 3__. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO A 
                   COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO CRUDE-BY-RAIL SAFETY.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to the safe movement of crude oil by rail, which may 
     include--
       (1) strengthening design standards for rail tank cars;
       (2) rapidly phasing out the legacy rail tank car fleet for 
     crude-by-rail operations;
       (3) improving railroad operations to reduce derailments;
       (4) limiting the volatility of crude oil shipped by rail;
       (5) disclosing crude-by-rail train movements to States and 
     first responders; or
       (6) increasing resources that provide for the training and 
     equipping of first responders to respond to worst-case 
     accidents,
     by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 812

(Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide women 
    with affordable access to comprehensive health care, including 
     preventive services (such as contraception and breast cancer 
 screenings), improve maternal health, and ensure that a woman has the 
same benefits and services no matter what part of the United States she 
  lives in, all of which is critical to improving the health and well-
 being of women, children, their families, and society as a whole, and 
  is an essential part of a woman's economic security and opportunity)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO ADVANCE WOMEN'S 
                   HEALTH CARE INTO THE 21ST CENTURY.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to improving women's healthcare services, which may 
     include measures to--
       (1) expand comprehensive preventive services, including 
     full access to contraceptive coverage for all women;
       (2) invest in access to women's primary care by investing 
     in nurse practitioners and other health care providers;
       (3) improve maternal safety and quality of care;
       (4) provide compassionate assistance through emergency 
     contraception and awareness for survivors of rape; or
       (5) ensure that women have access, awareness, and are 
     provided the full range of preventive services, including 
     contraception, breast cancer screenings, mammograms, domestic 
     violence screenings and counseling, and more as provided for 
     by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act;
     by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2025.


                           amendment no. 951

  (Purpose: To establish and fund a new Federal-State partnership to 
expand access to high-quality preschool programs for children from low- 
    and moderate-income families, offset with revenue from closing 
                               loopholes)

       On page 5, line 6, increase the amount by $1,500,000,000.
       On page 5, line 7, increase the amount by $2,800,000,000.
       On page 5, line 8, increase the amount by $3,100,000,000.
       On page 5, line 9, increase the amount by $3,300,000,000.
       On page 5, line 10, increase the amount by $3,400,000,000.
       On page 5, line 11, increase the amount by $4,500,000,000.
       On page 5, line 12, increase the amount by $3,700,000,000.
       On page 5, line 13, increase the amount by $3,900,000,000.
       On page 5, line 14, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 19, increase the amount by $1,500,000,000.
       On page 5, line 20, increase the amount by $2,800,000,000.
       On page 5, line 21, increase the amount by $3,100,000,000.
       On page 5, line 22, increase the amount by $3,300,000,000.
       On page 5, line 23, increase the amount by $3,400,000,000.
       On page 5, line 24, increase the amount by $4,500,000,000.
       On page 5, line 25, increase the amount by $3,700,000,000.
       On page 6, line 1, increase the amount by $3,900,000,000.
       On page 6, line 2, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 6, line 6, increase the amount by $1,316,000,000.
       On page 6, line 7, increase the amount by $3,309,000,000.
       On page 6, line 8, increase the amount by $5,941,000,000.
       On page 6, line 9, increase the amount by $7,907,000,000.
       On page 6, line 10, increase the amount by $9,508,000,000.
       On page 6, line 11, increase the amount by $569,000,000.
       On page 6, line 12, increase the amount by $437,000,000.
       On page 6, line 13, increase the amount by $302,000,000.
       On page 6, line 14, increase the amount by $166,000,000.
       On page 6, line 15, increase the amount by $44,000,000.
       On page 6, line 19, increase the amount by $1,316,000,000.
       On page 6, line 20, increase the amount by $3,309,000,000.
       On page 6, line 21, increase the amount by $5,941,000,000.
       On page 6, line 22, increase the amount by $7,907,000,000.
       On page 6, line 23, increase the amount by $9,508,000,000.
       On page 6, line 24, increase the amount by $569,000,000.
       On page 6, line 25, increase the amount by $437,000,000.
       On page 7, line 1, increase the amount by $302,000,000.
       On page 7, line 2, increase the amount by $166,000,000.
       On page 7, line 3, increase the amount by $44,000,000.
       On page 7, line 7, increase the amount by $1,316,000,000.
       On page 7, line 8, increase the amount by $1,809,000,000.

[[Page S1874]]

       On page 7, line 9, increase the amount by $3,141,000,000.
       On page 7, line 10, increase the amount by $4,807,000,000.
       On page 7, line 11, increase the amount by $6,208,000,000.
       On page 7, line 12, decrease the amount by $2,831,000,000.
       On page 7, line 13, decrease the amount by $4,063,000,000.
       On page 7, line 14, decrease the amount by $3,398,000,000.
       On page 7, line 15, decrease the amount by $3,734,000,000.
       On page 7, line 16, decrease the amount by $3,956,000,000.
       On page 7, line 21, increase the amount by $1,316,000,000.
       On page 7, line 22, increase the amount by $3,125,000,000.
       On page 7, line 23, increase the amount by $6,266,000,000.
       On page 7, line 24, increase the amount by $11,073,000,000.
       On page 7, line 25, increase the amount by $17,281,000,000.
       On page 8, line 1, increase the amount by $14,450,000,000.
       On page 8, line 2, increase the amount by $10,387,000,000.
       On page 8, line 3, increase the amount by $6,989,000,000.
       On page 8, line 4, increase the amount by $3,255,000,000.
       On page 8, line 5, decrease the amount by $701,000,000.
       On page 8, line 8, increase the amount by $1,316,000,000.
       On page 8, line 9, increase the amount by $3,125,000,000.
       On page 8, line 10, increase the amount by $6,266,000,000.
       On page 8, line 11, increase the amount by $11,073,000,000.
       On page 8, line 12, increase the amount by $17,281,000,000.
       On page 8, line 13, increase the amount by $14,450,000,000.
       On page 8, line 14, increase the amount by $10,387,000,000.
       On page 8, line 15, increase the amount by $6,989,000,000.
       On page 8, line 16, increase the amount by $3,255,000,000.
       On page 8, line 17, decrease the amount by $701,000,000.
       On page 28, line 20, increase the amount by $1,300,000,000.
       On page 28, line 21, increase the amount by $1,300,000,000.
       On page 28, line 24, increase the amount by $3,250,000,000.
       On page 28, line 25, increase the amount by $3,250,000,000.
       On page 29, line 3, increase the amount by $5,780,000,000.
       On page 29, line 4, increase the amount by $5,780,000,000.
       On page 29, line 7, increase the amount by $7,580,000,000.
       On page 29, line 8, increase the amount by $7,580,000,000.
       On page 29, line 7, increase the amount by $8,960,000,000.
       On page 29, line 8, increase the amount by $8,960,000,000.
       On page 42, line 2, increase the amount by $16,000,000.
       On page 42, line 3, increase the amount by $16,000,000.
       On page 42, line 6, increase the amount by $59,000,000.
       On page 42, line 7, increase the amount by $59,000,000.
       On page 42, line 10, increase the amount by $161,000,000.
       On page 42, line 11, increase the amount by $161,000,000.
       On page 42, line 14, increase the amount by $327,000,000.
       On page 42, line 15, increase the amount by $327,000,000.
       On page 42, line 18, increase the amount by $548,000,000.
       On page 42, line 19, increase the amount by $548,000,000.
       On page 42, line 22, increase the amount by $569,000,000.
       On page 42, line 23, increase the amount by $569,000,000.
       On page 43, line 2, increase the amount by $437,000,000.
       On page 43, line 3, increase the amount by $437,000,000.
       On page 43, line 6, increase the amount by $302,000,000.
       On page 43, line 7, increase the amount by $302,000,000.
       On page 43, line 10, increase the amount by $166,000,000.
       On page 43, line 11, increase the amount by $166,000,000.
       On page 43, line 14, increase the amount by $44,000,000.
       On page 43, line 15, increase the amount by $44,000,000.


                           amendment no. 345

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
  increasing funding for Federal investments in biomedical and basic 
                          scientific research)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO INCREASING 
                   FUNDING FOR FEDERAL INVESTMENTS IN BIOMEDICAL 
                   AND BASIC SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to increasing funding for Federal investments in 
     scientific research, which may include helping find cures for 
     life-threatening and chronic illnesses, increasing our 
     national security, supporting new energy technologies, or 
     supporting innovative solutions that advance private sector 
     efforts to grow the economy and create millions of middle 
     jobs, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2025.


                           amendment no. 817

 (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide tax 
benefits to patriot employers that invest in American jobs and provide 
  fair pay and benefits to workers and to eliminate tax benefits for 
            corporations that ship jobs or profits overseas)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO PROVIDE TAX 
                   BENEFITS TO PATRIOT EMPLOYERS THAT INVEST IN 
                   AMERICAN JOBS AND PROVIDE FAIR PAY AND BENEFITS 
                   TO WORKERS AND TO ELIMINATE TAX BENEFITS FOR 
                   CORPORATIONS THAT SHIP JOBS OR PROFITS 
                   OVERSEAS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to income taxes paid by businesses, which may 
     include measures providing tax breaks for companies that have 
     not inverted, have maintained or expanded their United States 
     workforce, or have provided livable wages and health care, 
     and may also include measures ending tax breaks that 
     encourage businesses to ship jobs offshore, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not increase the deficit over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2025.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.


                           Amendment No. 360

  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendments to call up my amendment No. 360.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Arizona [Mr. McCain], for himself and Mr. 
     Flake, proposes an amendment numbered 360.

  Mr. McCAIN. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment 
be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
  deterring the migration of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, 
                        Guatemala, and Honduras)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO DETERRING 
                   THE MIGRATION OF UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN FROM EL 
                   SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, AND HONDURAS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to deterring the attempted migration of 
     unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and 
     Honduras into the United States, which may include the 
     expedited removal of unlawful entrants from noncontiguous 
     countries and for providing in-county consulate processing of 
     refugee applications, by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.


                           Amendment No. 708

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment to call up my amendment No. 708.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Oregon [Mr. Wyden], for himself and Mr. 
     Bennet, proposes an amendment numbered 708.

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S1875]]

  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
simplifying and expanding tax incentives for higher education to boost 
                   student attendance and completion)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO 
                   SIMPLIFYING AND EXPANDING TAX INCENTIVES FOR 
                   HIGHER EDUCATION.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to simplifying and expanding tax incentives for 
     higher education to boost student attendance and completion 
     at colleges and vocational schools, by the amounts provided 
     in such legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. WYDEN. The first of the three amendments I call up would expand 
and simplify the tax credits to help students afford the sky-high costs 
of a college education.
  Students and their families today spend hours wading through a 
Byzantine web of tax incentives for college and too often miss out on 
opportunities in the Tax Code to pay for their education. Students are 
taking on loan debt that weighs them down for years.


                           Amendment No. 791

  Second, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside in order to call up the Wyden, Murray, Stabenow 
amendment No. 791.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Oregon [Mr. Wyden], for himself, Mrs. 
     Murray, and Ms. Stabenow, proposes an amendment numbered 791.

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To strike reconciliation instructions to the Committee on 
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and Finance and require regular 
                                 order)

       Strike title II.

  Mr. WYDEN. This amendment would delete the reconciliation 
instructions in Section 201 of the budget resolution.
  When it comes to tackling the big economic challenges in this 
country, the best legislation is bipartisan legislation. Using the 
procedural tactic called budget reconciliation is a guaranteed path to 
partisanship and gridlock. It would be particularly damaging in the 
cause of tax reform, where Democrats and Republicans understand, just 
as in 1986, there is an opportunity for common ground.
  I also think it would be very unfortunate to use reconciliation to 
appeal the Affordable Care Act. If it is repealed, America goes back to 
the dark days when health care was reserved for the healthy and the 
wealthy.


                           Amendment No. 870

  Finally, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside in order to call up amendment No. 870.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Oregon [Mr. Wyden], for himself, Mr. 
     Schumer, Ms. Stabenow, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Menendez, Mr. 
     Cardin, Mr. Brown, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Casey, and Mr. Warner, 
     proposes an amendment numbered 870.

  Mr. WYDEN. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment 
be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
extending tax provisions expiring in 2013 or 2014 for 2 years, such as 
               those contained in the EXPIRE Act of 2014)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO EXTENDING 
                   TAX PROVISIONS EXPIRING IN 2013 OR 2014 FOR 2 
                   YEARS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to extending tax provisions that expired in 2013 or 
     2014 for 2 years, which may include provisions and policies 
     like those contained in the EXPIRE Act of 2014, by the 
     amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.

  Mr. WYDEN. This amendment deals with the stop-and-go tax cuts known 
as extenders. Last December, the Senate approved a package of tax 
extenders for the 2014 year. That law expired before the ink could dry. 
By New Year's Day, taxpayers were thrown back in the dark about what 
they will owe in the future.
  Let's not repeat that mistake. A grab bag of tax breaks is nobody's 
idea of perfect tax policy. My amendment will definitely move the ball 
forward on tax policy. It will send a clear signal that the Senate is 
ready to put these tax incentives in place through the year 2016.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.


             Amendments Nos. 453, 452, 457, and 456 En Bloc

  Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment to call up my amendments Nos. 453, 452, 457 and 456 
en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           amendment no. 453

  (Purpose: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to 
     ensuring that the Secretary of Transportation prioritizes the 
construction of projects that are of national and regional significance 
and projects in high priority corridors on the National Highway System, 
 which will improve the safe, secure, and efficient movement of people 
and goods through the United States and facilitate economic development 
                 and create jobs in the United States)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. SPENDING-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO 
                   PRIORITIZING THE CONSTRUCTION OF INFRASTRUCTURE 
                   PROJECTS THAT ARE OF NATIONAL AND REGIONAL 
                   SIGNIFICANCE AND PROJECTS IN HIGH PRIORITY 
                   CORRIDORS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to the prioritization of the Federal investment in 
     the infrastructure of the United States on projects that are 
     of national and regional significance and projects in high 
     priority corridors of the National Highway System by the 
     amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not raise new revenue 
     and would not increase the deficit over either the period of 
     the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of 
     the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           amendment no. 452

  (Purpose: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to 
   ensuring that the Secretary of the Interior enters into candidate 
  conservation agreements with each of the relevant 11 Western States 
  before the United States Fish and Wildlife Service makes a listing 
 determination on the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species 
                              Act of 1973)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. SPENDING-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO ENSURE THAT THE 
                   SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR ENTERS INTO CERTAIN 
                   CANDIDATE CONSERVATION AGREEMENTS WITH WESTERN 
                   STATES.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
     seq.) determinations, which may include determining whether 
     the greater sage-grouse warrants protection, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not raise new revenue and would 
     not increase the deficit over either the period of the total 
     of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total 
     of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

[[Page S1876]]

                           amendment no. 457

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
prohibition of Veterans Benefits Administration executive bonuses until 
      the backlog of disability claims for veterans is eliminated)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO 
                   ELIMINATION OF CERTAIN BONUSES FOR EMPLOYEES OF 
                   THE VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to bonuses paid by the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs, which may include prohibitions on awards to 
     employees responsible for eliminating the backlog of claims, 
     by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2025.


                           amendment no. 456

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
ensuring that medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
     meet the privacy, dignity, and safety needs of women veterans)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO ENSURING 
                   THAT MEDICAL FACILITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                   VETERANS AFFAIRS MEET THE NEEDS OF WOMEN 
                   VETERANS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to ensuring that medical facilities of the 
     Department of Veterans Affairs meet the needs of women 
     veterans by the amounts provided in such legislation for 
     those purposes, provided that such legislation would not 
     increase the deficit over either the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, before I begin, I thank all of those 
involved with this intricate process. Senate Budget Committee chairman 
Mike Enzi and ranking member Bernie Sanders have worked tirelessly 
leading up to this point. It certainly is not an easy process, and I do 
not want their efforts to go unnoticed.
  I stand here today to discuss many important issues that concern my 
constituents across the great State of Nevada. These are issues that I 
hope to address during this year's budget process to improve the 
quality of life in the Silver State.
  I have filed several amendments to this year's budget ranging from 
infrastructure and tourism, to medical care at VA facilities, and to 
protecting our way of life in Nevada with the support of the Second 
Amendment. These amendments will deliver needed solutions.
  Developing critical infrastructure for Nevada is a top priority of 
mine. It remains the first step toward long-term job growth and 
sustainability. Trucking, tourism, and trade needs are met when proper 
infrastructure is in place.
  In fact, I filed amendment No. 466 that would help promote travel and 
tourism here in the United States. Last year, over 40 million visitors 
came to the Silver State, supporting almost 400,000 jobs. The future 
Interstate 11, and the many other important highway projects throughout 
our Nation, have the potential to open more markets for tourism and 
trade, which will create jobs and improve our economy. In Nevada, we 
are a State that welcomes more visitors, both domestic and 
international, on a yearly basis. We want more people to experience all 
our State has to offer and strive to provide the best services to those 
already visiting Nevada.
  I recognize there are limited resources dedicated for transportation 
and infrastructure. I believe it is important we prioritize roads and 
bridges that give us the biggest bang for our buck. It is important we 
expand high priority corridors and projects of regional and national 
significance, because those are the types of projects that will spur 
long-term economic development.
  One example of these critical projects is the proposed I-11 corridor. 
This future highway would connect Phoenix and Las Vegas, the two 
largest cities in the Nation not connected by an interstate, cutting 
the travel time by over 1 hour. It would provide new economic 
development opportunities in the Southwest and would play a large role 
in boosting the global competitiveness of the region. My amendment, 
amendment No. 453 would prioritize Federal investments in 
infrastructure projects with national and regional significance such as 
the I-11 corridor.
  In Nevada, we have a local resident called the sage grouse. Listing 
the sage grouse as an endangered species would have a devastating 
impact on Nevada's economy. Like many of the other States, Nevada's 
Ecosystem Council has spent years diligently developing a robust action 
plan to avoid a listing. Further collaboration between the Federal 
Government, the State, and local stakeholders will go a much longer way 
to protect and balance both Nevadans' way of life and the sage grouse 
population. My amendment, amendment No. 452, says the Department of the 
Interior should enter into State conservation agreements with each of 
the 11 States with sage grouse populations. State plans should be given 
the opportunity to show results before the Federal Government 
intervenes.
  If the Federal Government adds the sage grouse to the endangered 
species list, it would devastate rural economies across these affected 
States, including Nevada. States must be given an opportunity to show 
they can foster a sustainable sage grouse population.
  Since becoming a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, 
addressing the backlog of disability claims has remained one of my top 
priorities. The fact that Nevada's veterans continue to have one of the 
longest waiting times in the Nation at 257 days on average is 
unacceptable. That is why I invited VA Secretary Robert McDonald to 
come and see what is going on in the Silver State. It is also why I 
offered amendment No. 457. This amendment says we should prohibit 
bonuses for certain VA executives until the backlog of veterans' 
disability claims is eliminated. Our veterans have been waiting too 
long, and my amendment brings us one step closer to eradicating the 
backlog.
  Furthermore, ensuring America's veterans receive timely and quality 
health care is also a promise our nation must keep. And as our military 
continues to have more women in uniform, VA facilities must adapt to 
the meet their specific health care requirements. That is why my 
amendment No. 456 is so important because it keeps this promise by 
ensuring VA medical facilities properly meet the needs of women 
veterans. Safety, privacy, and dignity should be accounted for in every 
VA hospital and clinic. As I continue holding the VA accountable in my 
role on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, quality health care and 
timely benefits will remain a priority of mine, and it is a priority 
now as we consider the budget resolution.
  As an avid sportsman and gun-owner, I enjoy our way of life in 
Nevada, but I am concerned by actions from this administration that 
would directly infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding 
citizens.
  Recently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 
ATF, issued a proposal that would ban popular .223 caliber ammunitions, 
severely limiting access to one of the most widely used cartridges in 
America for sporting purposes. That is why I filed amendment No. 454 to 
protect law-abiding American citizens' Second Amendment rights and 
prohibit the ATF from reclassifying ammunition primarily intended for 
sporting purposes. This issue is important to Nevadans, and it is 
important to me. Amendment No. 454 makes sure that the constitutional 
rights of Nevadans are protected.
  There are an estimated 400,000 untested rape kits sitting in law 
enforcement and crime lab storage facilities across the Nation. Each 
one of these untested rape kits represents a missed opportunity to help 
bring justice and healing to a survivor of sexual assault. That is why 
I filed amendment No. 455. This amendment prioritizes the elimination 
of the rape kit backlog to hold perpetrators accountable and help 
prevent these despicable crimes from happening in the first place.
  Finally, I would like to discuss a sense of the Senate amendment I 
filed regarding the bipartisan principles of no budget, no pay 
legislation, Amendment No. 45l. My sense of the Senate would endorse 
the solutions in No

[[Page S1877]]

Budget, No Pay that would encourage Members of Congress to come to the 
table and work together to pass their own budget and appropriations 
bills on time in order to receive pay. It just makes sense--if Members 
of Congress do not do their jobs, they should not get paid. And by the 
way, we also say pay is not retroactive.
  My amendments take the needs of Nevadans into consideration and make 
them a national priority.
  I look forward to working with my colleagues in order to make them a 
reality.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.


          Amendments Nos. 343, 391, 392, 394, and 802 En Bloc

  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment to call up the following amendments en bloc: Nos. 
343, 391, 392, 394, and 802.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           amendment no. 343

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
   preserving mandatory appropriations for agricultural conservation 
                               programs)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO PRESERVING 
                   MANDATORY APPROPRIATIONS FOR AGRICULTURAL 
                   CONSERVATION PROGRAMS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to the importance of preserving mandatory 
     appropriations for agricultural conservation programs, which 
     may include financial and technical assistance, conservation 
     easements, and working land management assistance, by the 
     amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.


                           amendment no. 391

 (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to the 
   expansion of access to the income tax credit for employee health 
                 insurance expenses of small employers)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO EXPANSION 
                   OF ACCESS TO THE INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR EMPLOYEE 
                   HEALTH INSURANCE EXPENSES OF SMALL EMPLOYERS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to expansion of access to the income tax credit for 
     employee health insurance expenses of small employers by the 
     amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.


                           amendment no. 392

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
  promoting the use of college savings accounts while students are in 
                elementary school and secondary school)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO PROMOTING 
                   THE USE OF COLLEGE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to promoting the use of college savings accounts 
     while students are in elementary school and secondary school, 
     by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 394

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
 special treatment of the income tax credit for research expenditures 
                         for startup companies)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO SPECIAL 
                   TREATMENT OF THE INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR RESEARCH 
                   EXPENDITURES FOR STARTUP COMPANIES.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to special treatment of the income tax credit for 
     research expenditures for startup companies by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not increase the deficit over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2025.


                           amendment no. 802

 (Purpose: To offset the costs of the war against the Islamic State in 
                            Iraq and Syria)

       On page 5, line 5, increase the amount by $8,800,000,000.

  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I come to the floor to speak about our 
Nation's war against ISIS and why we must pay for it responsibly. As 
our Nation's Armed Forces continue their critical mission to degrade 
and destroy ISIS, which is already months underway, we need to consider 
another part of our strategy--paying for the war. This is not a new 
concept. Our Nation has a long history of paying for our military 
missions. In fact, every war since the Revolutionary War, to the first 
Gulf War, was paid for.
  Through each of our Nation's armed conflicts, new revenue streams not 
only provided the resources our military needed, they reminded the 
American people that our country was at war and we all needed to 
contribute to the effort. But after 14 years and 2 wars that have cost 
our Nation trillions of dollars, I fear we have forgotten this 
important lesson from our history.
  We cannot write another blank check for a war. Paying for a war 
against ISIS is the right thing to do. It is fiscally, morally, and 
militarily responsible. As we continue to debate this war authorization 
in Congress, we need to be honest with the American people and each 
other about what it will cost our Nation. That is why, as we debate the 
budget this week, I have offered an amendment that requires us to raise 
the revenue to pay for the fight against ISIS. The American people 
deserve no less.
  I urge my colleagues to join me on this amendment to pay for a 
critically important war against ISIS and ensure we fight this battle 
together as one country.
  Thank you.
  With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.


                           Amendment No. 432

(Purpose: To provide additional resources to create the opportunity for 
more Americans to obtain a higher education and advanced job skills by 
  supporting two free years of community college paid for by raising 
 revenue through requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their 
                              fair share)

  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up my amendment No. 432, which is 
cosponsored by Senators Schumer, Sanders, and Stabenow. 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Wisconsin [Ms. Baldwin], for herself, Mr. 
     Sanders, and Mr. Schumer, proposes an amendment numbered 432.

  Ms. BALDWIN. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The amendment is printed in the Record of Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 
under ``Text of Amendments.'')
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, my amendment would create a free 
community college program, making a bold investment in our Nation's 
students, its workforce, and the future of our economy. It pays for 
this investment in a balanced way, and my amendment would actually 
reduce the deficit by enacting the Buffett rule--asking millionaires 
and billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes while giving our 
students a fair shot at the opportunities a higher education brings. I 
believe every student in America deserves a fair shot and an affordable 
education, and I believe a college education should be a path to the 
middle class, not a path into debt.

[[Page S1878]]

  Inspired by programs in Tennessee and Chicago, this spring President 
Obama proposed a program that would allow students to attend community 
college for 2 years at no cost. This will give students who are willing 
to work hard the opportunity to obtain a certificate, an industry-
recognized credential, or associate's degree. That provides the skills 
they need to access in-demand jobs or earn credits they can transfer 
into a 4-year institution.
  I would urge all my colleagues to support the Baldwin, Schumer, 
Sanders, Stabenow amendment in order to support higher education, to 
support free community college, and invest in our students and our 
workforce.


                           Amendment No. 436

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be 
set aside in order to call up Baldwin amendment No. 436.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Wisconsin [Ms. Baldwin], for herself, Mr. 
     Warner, Mrs. McCaskill, and Mr. Whitehouse, propose an 
     amendment numbered 436.

  Ms. BALDWIN. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

    (Purpose: To preserve the point of order against reconciliation 
    legislation that would increase the deficit or reduce a surplus)

         Strike section 405.

  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, amendment No. 436 is also cosponsored by 
Senators Warner, McCaskill, and Whitehouse. This amendment is very 
simple. It would strike section 405 of the chairman's mark. Section 405 
eliminated a point of order against reconciliation legislation which 
either increases the deficit or would reduce a surplus.
  I see no good reason why we should be making it easier to increase 
the debt and deficit that the majority claims to care so much about. If 
their reconciliation legislation is so important, then they ought to 
pay for it. If this amendment fails to be adopted, we will find 
ourselves in the same situation we were in the early 2000s.
  In 2001 and 2003, the then-Republican majority used reconciliation to 
pass a $1.3 trillion tax cut in 2001 and then another $350 billion tax 
cut in 2003. Both of these efforts were entirely unpaid for. Not a 
single dime was offset. So much for fiscal responsibility. It was not 
until 2007, when Chairman Conrad took control of the Senate Budget 
Committee, when a point of order was put into place to stop 
reconciliation from being used as a tool to add to the deficit. Let's 
not use the reconciliation process to add to our deficit.
  I urge my colleagues to support my commonsense amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.


                           Amendment No. 694

  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside and call up amendment No. 694.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from West Virginia [Mr. Manchin] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 694.

  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
      investing in advanced fossil energy technology research and 
                              development)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO INVESTING 
                   IN ADVANCED FOSSIL ENERGY TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH 
                   AND DEVELOPMENT.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to investing in advanced fossil energy technology 
     research and development at the Department of Energy, to 
     reduce the impacts of climate change while ensuring the 
     reliability of the electric grid, by the amounts provided in 
     such legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I agree with my friends that we cannot 
deny that climate change is real and that humans do contribute to it. 
However, we also cannot deny that we will continue to rely on fossil 
fuels for decades to come, including for the bulk of our electricity. 
Coal, specifically, is one of the only two baseload fuels we have that 
we are able to run 24/7, rain or shine.
  With new regulations, we are facing more pressure on our baseload 
coal. Last winter during the polar vortex, the PGM system that provides 
electricity for West Virginia and the electricity we are using right 
now in DC will be running full capacity. We saw a record number of 
plant outages when they were most needed.
  Further threats to our reliability could result in rolling blackouts, 
which puts the lives of the most vulnerable, the elderly, the sick, and 
the poor at risk. The Fossil Energy Research and Development Program at 
the Department of Energy supports a group of 1,000 projects, including 
$7 billion of private sector investment, representing 55,000 jobs 
across the United States. Research supported in this program has led to 
cleaner burning plants over the past decade, and we have reduced 
pollutants and increased the efficiency of coal-fired powerplants.
  Right now, DOE has $8 billion of fossil energy loan guarantees that 
need to be utilized. The best way to reduce impacts of climate change 
while still ensuring a reliable electric grid is to invest in the 
research and development of advanced fossil fuel technology. To combat 
climate change, I would ask for the support of this amendment.


                           Amendment No. 578

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be 
set aside and call up amendment No. 578.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from West Virginia [Mr. Manchin] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 578.

  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
         addressing methamphetamine abuse in the United States)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO ADDRESSING 
                   METHAMPHETAMINE ABUSE IN THE UNITED STATES.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to addressing methamphetamine abuse in the United 
     States, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, this amendment would encourage our 
country to increase our investment in combatting methamphetamine use. 
Meth abuse has devastated communities across the country. Meth can 
cause violent behavior and psychosis. In the long run, it changes the 
way the brain works, causing long-term emotional and cognitive 
problems.
  Domestic meth labs, fueled by demand from addicts, endanger 
communities and the environment. In 2013, in West Virginia, law 
enforcement officials seized 533 meth labs. That was an 86-percent 
increase over 2012. I have fought in my State to address meth abuse 
from every angle: reducing access to the products that are used to make 
meth, taking down meth labs, and improving treatment for addicts.
  But this is a national problem, not just a West Virginia problem. It 
requires a national response. During

[[Page S1879]]

committee markup I had a similar amendment to enhance investments in 
efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse, which 
passed by voice vote.
  This drug addiction is devastating families and communities all over 
America. Too many young people have lost before their lives begin, and 
too many adults are being pulled away from productive lives. We must 
change. Congress must do more to combat meth abuse. That is why I urge 
the support of my amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.


               Amendments Nos. 700, 867, and 895 En Bloc

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
pending amendment be set aside; further, that three amendments be 
called up en bloc. They are amendments Nos. 700, 867, and 895.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           Amendment No. 700

 (Purpose: To ensure high-income earners pay a fair share in taxes and 
to use the revenue to invest in repairing our Nation's bridges, coastal 
               infrastructure, and damage from wildfires)

       On page 4, line 1, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 2, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 3, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 4, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 5, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 6, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 7, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 8, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 9, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 10, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 4, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 5, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 6, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 7, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 8, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 9, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 10, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 11, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 12, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 13, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 17, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 18, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 19, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 20, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 21, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 22, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 23, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 24, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 5, line 25, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 6, line 1, increase the amount by $7,000,000,000.
       On page 19, line 15, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 19, line 16, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 19, line 19, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 19, line 20, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 19, line 23, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 19, line 24, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 2, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 3, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 6, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 7, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 10, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 11, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 14, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 15, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 18, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 19, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 22, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 20, line 23, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 21, line 2, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 21, line 3, increase the amount by $3,000,000,000.
       On page 24, line 15, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 24, line 16, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 24, line 19, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 24, line 20, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 24, line 23, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 24, line 24, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 2, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 3, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 6, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 7, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 10, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 11, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 14, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 15, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 18, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 19, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 22, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 25, line 23, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 26, line 2, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.
       On page 26, line 3, increase the amount by $4,000,000,000.


                           Amendment No. 867

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
making it more difficult for corporations and billionaires to secretly 
     influence elections by making unlimited undisclosed campaign 
   expenditures, and to prevent such entities from evading campaign 
 finance law, including through making false statements to government 
                               agencies)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO MAKE IT MORE 
                   DIFFICULT FOR CORPORATIONS TO SECRETLY 
                   INFLUENCE ELECTIONS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to campaign finance reform, including disclosure of 
     campaign spending and the prevention and enforcement of false 
     statements to the Government, by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 895

  (Purpose: To prohibit budget resolutions that support cutting over 
      $1,000,000,000,000 in spending without identifying specific 
                         programmatic effects)

       At the end of subtitle A of title IV, add the following:

     SEC. 4_. POINT OF ORDER AGAINST BUDGET RESOLUTIONS THAT 
                   SUPPORT CUTTING OVER $1,000,000,000,000 IN 
                   SPENDING WITHOUT IDENTIFYING SPECIFIC 
                   PROGRAMMATIC EFFECTS.

       (a) Point of Order.--It shall not be in order in the Senate 
     to consider a concurrent resolution on the budget that would 
     reduce new budget authority or outlays during the fiscal 
     years covered under the resolution by more than 
     $1,000,000,000,000 (as compared to the fiscal year before the 
     budget year for the resolution) unless the committee print 
     accompanying the resolution identifies the specific 
     programmatic effects proposed to meet the recommended levels 
     and amounts in the resolution.
       (b) Waiver and Appeal.--Subsection (a) may be waived or 
     suspended in the Senate only by an affirmative vote of three-
     fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn. An affirmative 
     vote of three-fifths of the Members of the Senate, duly 
     chosen and sworn, shall be required to sustain an appeal of 
     the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under 
     subsection (a).

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.


                  Amendments Nos. 632 and 633 En Bloc

  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside so I can call up amendments Nos. 632 and 633 en 
bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:

[[Page S1880]]

                           Amendment No. 632

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
       providing reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO REASONABLE 
                   ACCOMMODATIONS FOR PREGNANT WORKERS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to efforts to increase employment opportunities and 
     prevent employment discrimination, which may include measures 
     to prevent employment discrimination against pregnant 
     workers, to provide pregnant workers with a right to 
     workplace accommodations, and to ensure that employers comply 
     with requirements regarding such workplace accommodations for 
     pregnant workers, by the amounts provided in such legislation 
     for those purposes, provided that such legislation would not 
     increase the deficit over either the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 633

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
           enhancing the child and dependent care tax credit)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

     SEC. 3__. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO ENHANCING 
                   THE CHILD AND DEPENDENT CARE TAX CREDIT.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to enhancing the child and dependent care tax credit 
     in order to offset the growing costs of child care, including 
     by making the credit fully refundable, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not increase the deficit over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2025.

  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, just a brief description of both. Both are 
deficit-neutral reserve funds. The first provides reasonable 
accommodations for pregnant workers. That is No. 632. We have had a 
standard in place for a quarter century pursuant to the Americans with 
Disabilities Act that individuals who have a disability in the 
workplace are given reasonable accommodations at the worksite.
  We should have the same for pregnant workers. We have a case that was 
decided today by the Supreme Court, Young v. UPS. This was a mixed 
result, but I think Peggy Young, the plaintiff in that case, got a good 
result. But there is still not a clear standard which we could place in 
the law, just like we have in the context of an individual with a 
disability in the workforce. So we need a clear standard to increase 
employment opportunities and prevent employment discrimination against 
pregnant workers.
  Secondly, amendment No. 633 is a further development of existing 
policies as it relates to childcare. We have had in the Tax Code now 
for a long time a tax credit for families who are paying for the cost 
of childcare.
  That tax provision is a way to provide tax relief to offset childcare 
expenses for families. The problem, though, is under current law--as it 
is currently structured--it doesn't provide the kind of relief it 
should. In fact, the way it is designed now, very few families are able 
to benefit from it. I want to make it--I think it should be refundable. 
That is the best way to provide a measure of relief that is not there 
now for families.
  Childcare for some families--if it is not the most expensive part of 
their budget, it is often second or third--thousands of dollars. It has 
gone up across the country by some 70 percent in less than 30 years. We 
need to help families be able to pay for something as essential as 
childcare. That is what that amendment is about.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.


             Amendments Nos. 842, 843, 952, and 953 En Bloc

  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment to call up en bloc amendments Nos. 842, 843, 952, and 
953.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           Amendment No. 842

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
                     consumer financial protection)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO CONSUMER 
                   FINANCIAL PROTECTION.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to consumer financial protection, which may include 
     measures ensuring that the Bureau of Consumer Financial 
     Protection has authority and autonomy to continue to protect 
     consumers from predatory lending, misleading or abusive 
     behavior in the financial marketplace, or other unscrupulous 
     practices, by the amounts provided in such legislation for 
     those purposes, provided that such legislation would not 
     increase the deficit over either the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 843

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
  restoring reductions in the Republican budget to the Stafford loan 
   program that would mandate that students currently in college pay 
   interest on their loans before they have received their education 
benefits, to make college more affordable, to reduce the debt burden of 
   students, and to help graduates afford to pay back student loans)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO REDUCING 
                   THE COST OF ATTENDANCE AT AN INSTITUTION OF 
                   HIGHER EDUCATION AND ENSURING THAT STUDENTS CAN 
                   AFFORD TO PAY BACK STUDENT LOANS BY AVOIDING 
                   NEW MANDATES THAT STUDENTS PAY INTEREST.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to reducing the cost of attending an institution of 
     higher education and ensuring that students who graduate can 
     afford to pay back their student loans, which may include 
     avoiding new mandates that students pay interest on Stafford 
     loans while attending an institution of higher education by 
     the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 952

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
      establishing a more level playing field in trade agreements)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO TRADE 
                   AGREEMENTS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to trade agreements, which may include measures 
     ensuring that trade agreements put United States 
     manufacturers on a level playing field with manufacturers in 
     foreign countries with low environmental and wage standards, 
     by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase 
     the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal 
     years 2016 through 2025.


                           amendment no. 953

  (Purpose: To save student financial aid and reduce the student loan 
 debt levels in the Republican budget by 15 percent by eliminating new 
     mandated interest charged while students are still in school)

       On page 6, line 6, increase the amount by $2,031,000,000.
       On page 6, line 7, increase the amount by $3,776,000,000.
       On page 6, line 8, increase the amount by $4,147,000,000.
       On page 6, line 9, increase the amount by $4,479 ,000,000.
       On page 6, line 10, increase the amount by $4,785,000,000.
       On page 6, line 11, increase the amount by $5,095,000,000.
       On page 6, line 12 ,increase the amount by $5,404,000,000.
       On page 6, line 13, increase the amount by $5,735,000,000.
       On page 6, line 14, increase the amount by $6,075,000,000.
       On page 6, line 15, increase the amount by $6,387,000,000.
       On page 6, line 19, increase the amount by $1,266,000,000.
       On page 6, line 20, increase the amount by $2,876 ,000,000.
       On page 6, line 21, increase the amount by $3,577,000,000.
       On page 6, line 22, increase the amount by $3,899,000,000.

[[Page S1881]]

       On page 6, line 23, increase the amount by $4,195,000,000.
       On page 6, line 24, increase the amount by $4,490,000,000.
       On page 6, line 25, increase the amount by $4,784,000,000.
       On page 7, line 1, increase the amount by $5,095,000,000.
       On page 7, line 2, increase the amount by $5,420,000,000.
       On page 7, line 3, increase the amount by $5,712,000,000.
       On page 7, line 7, increase the amount by $1,266,000,000.
       On page 7, line 8, increase the amount by $2,876,000,000.
       On page 7, line 9, increase the amount by $3,577,000,000.
       On page 7, line 10, increase the amount by $3,899,000,000.
       On page 7, line 11, increase the amount by $4,195,000,000.
       On page 7, line 12, increase the amount by $4,490,000,000.
       On page 7, line 13, increase the amount by $4,784,000,000.
       On page 7, line 14, increase the amount by $5,095,000,000.
       On page 7, line 15, increase the amount by $5,420,000,000.
       On page 7, line 16, increase the amount by $5,712,000,000.
       On page 7, line 21, increase the amount by $1,266,000,000.
       On page 7, line 22, increase the amount by $4,142,000,000.
       On page 7, line 23, increase the amount by $7,719,000,000.
       On page 7, line 24, increase the amount by $11,618,000,000.
       On page 7, line 25, increase the amount by $15,813,000,000.
       On page 8, line 1, increase the amount by $20,303,000,000.
       On page 8, line 2, increase the amount by $25,087,000,000.
       On page 8, line 3, increase the amount by $30,182,000,000.
       On page 8, line 4, increase the amount by $35,602,000,000.
       On page 8, line 5, increase the amount by $41,314,000,000.
       On page 8, line 8, increase the amount by $1,266,000,000.
       On page 8, line 9, increase the amount by $4,142,000,000.
       On page 8, line 10, increase the amount by $7,719,000,000.
       On page 8, line 11, increase the amount by $11,618,000,000.
       On page 8, line 12, increase the amount by $15,813,000,000.
       On page 8, line 13, increase the amount by $20,303,000,000.
       On page 8, line 14, increase the amount by $25,087,000,000.
       On page 8, line 15, increase the amount by $30,182,000,000.
       On page 8, line 16, increase the amount by $35,602,000,000.
       On page 8, line 17, increase the amount by $41,314,000,000.
       On page 28, line 20, increase the amount by $2,015,000,000.
       On page 28, line 21, increase the amount by $1,250 
     ,000,000.
       On page 28, line 24, increase the amount by $3,700,000,000.
       On page 28, line 25, increase the amount by $2,800,000,000.
       On page 29, line 3, increase the amount by $3,945,000,000.
       On page 29, line 4, increase the amount by $3,375,000,000.
       On page 29, line 7, increase the amount by $4,125,000,000.
       On page 29, line 8, increase the amount by $3,545,000,000.
       On page 29, line 11, increase the amount by $ 
     4,270,000,000.
       On page 29, line 12, increase the amount by $3,680,000,000.
       On page 29, line 15, increase the amount by $4,405,000,000.
       On page 29, line 16, increase the amount by $3,800,000,000.
       On page 29, line 19, increase the amount by $4,530,000,000.
       On page 29, line 20, increase the amount by $3,910,000,000.
       On page 29, line 23, increase the amount by $4,665,000,000.
       On page 29, line 24, increase the amount by $4,025,000,000.
       On page 30, line 2, increase the amount by $4,795,000,000.
       On page 30, line 3, increase the amount by $4,140,000,000.
       On page 30, line 6, increase the amount by $4,925,000,000.
       On page 30, line 7, increase the amount by $4,250,000,000.
       On page 42, line 2, increase the amount by $16,000,000.
       On page 42, line 3, increase the amount by $16,000,000.
       On page 42, line 6, increase the amount by $76,000,000.
       On page 42, line 7, increase the amount by $76,000,000.
       On page 42, line 10, increase the amount by $202,000,000.
       On page 42, line 11, increase the amount by $202,000,000.
       On page 42, line 14, increase the amount by $354,000,000.
       On page 42, line 15, increase the amount by $354,000,000.
       On page 42, line 18, increase the amount by $515,000,000.
       On page 42, line 19, increase the amount by $515,000,000.
       On page 42, line 22, increase the amount by $690,000,000.
       On page 42, line 23, increase the amount by $690,000,000.
       On page 43, line 2, increase the amount by $874,000,000.
       On page 43, line 3, increase the amount by $874,000,000.
       On page 43, line 6, increase the amount by $1,070,000,000.
       On page 43, line 7, increase the amount by $1,070,000,000.
       On page 43, line 10, increase the amount by $1,280,000,000.
       On page 43, line 11, increase the amount by $1,280,000,000.
       On page 43, line 14, increase the amount by $1,462,000,000.
       On page 43, line 15, increase the amount by $1,462,000,000.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.


                           Amendment No. 825

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
pending amendment be set aside and that I be permitted to call up 
amendment No. 825.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Connecticut [Mr. Blumenthal] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 825.

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To expand the deficit-neutral reserve fund for veterans and 
                            servicemembers)

       On page 54, between lines 20 and 21, insert the following:
       (6) vocational programs of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs, which may include legislation that improves 
     vocational rehabilitation and counseling for veterans with 
     service-connected disabilities and members of the Armed 
     Forces with severe injuries or illness;
       (7) improving research at the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs, which may include legislation that expands research 
     on post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or 
     toxic exposures;
       (8) improving the delivery of health care and benefits to 
     veterans or members of the Armed Forces, which may include 
     legislation that improves delivery of health care and 
     benefits to victims of military sexual trauma;
       (9) improving the delivery of care and benefits to 
     veterans, which may include legislation that enhances 
     oversight and investigations by the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs Office of Inspector General;
       (10) maintaining and enhancing access, choice, and 
     accountability in veterans care through the Veterans Access, 
     Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-146);

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, this amendment builds on the reserve 
fund in section 307 to provide for better medical research into the 
issues affecting women in our military, most particularly women who 
become veterans, which is a neglected aspect of health care in our 
Veterans Affairs health care system.
  It focuses on military sexual trauma, which is continuing to be a 
scourge in the military, and its effects. But it also deals more 
generally with the need for research into post-traumatic stress and 
traumatic brain injury, which is unfortunately lagging in our Veterans 
Affairs system, as determined as our VA is to do more of it.
  It would also build on existing programs for job training and 
vocational rehabilitation so our veterans entering the job market and 
seeking to become productive in well-paying jobs will be able to 
fulfill that ambition. It essentially fills in some of the gaps left by 
the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act which this body 
passed not long ago, to meet the emergency as well as the sustained 
needs of our veterans that are unfulfilled by our present VA.
  It is our obligation to do better for our Nation's heroes, keep faith 
with them and leave no veteran behind when it comes to jobs and health 
care.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I would like to speak briefly about four of 
the amendments I have brought up this evening to provide some 
background and detail.


                           Amendment No. 391

  First, I would like to speak about amendment No. 391, an amendment I 
have offered that would help small

[[Page S1882]]

businesses to provide health insurance to their employees.
  The Affordable Care Act made important strides toward making health 
care more affordable and accessible to millions of Americans. One of 
the ways the ACA was intended to expand coverage was through business 
tax credits, to help business owners who want to do right by their 
workers and provide health insurance. These tax credits were a good 
first step.
  But over the past 2 years, it has become clear we need to do more, to 
expand and simplify them to help more small businesses. Although many 
people I speak with have benefitted greatly from the new coverage 
afforded by the ACA, I have also spoken to many small business owners 
in Delaware who have wanted to take advantage of the tax credit but 
could not because it was too complicated or they did not qualify.
  We need to listen to these concerns and strengthen our health care 
system so it works for everyone. That is why I am offering my amendment 
to expand access to the ACA's small business tax credit, which is based 
on legislation I have introduced with eight of my colleagues. The small 
business owners I speak with who do not see their employees as labor 
costs or lines on a balance sheet, who see them as members of their 
family and a key part of their business and community, those small 
business owners want to do right by their workers and help ensure that 
their health care needs are covered.
  We should do everything we can to help them meet those goals. So I 
urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment to expand 
health care tax credits for small business owners.
  If I might very briefly speak to the three remaining amendments I 
have made pending.


                           Amendment No. 394

  Amendment No. 394 is cosponsored by Republican Senator Pat Roberts of 
Kansas and is also cosponsored by Senator Schumer. It is the startup 
innovation credit. It makes the research and development tax credit 
accessible to early-stage and startup companies, an important way that 
we can take a long-established tax credit that is of real benefit to 
significant, profitable companies that invest heavily in R&D and make 
it accessible to those fast-growing, early-stage companies in our 
economy.


                           Amendment No. 392

  Second, I have the college savings bill. This is amendment No. 392 
with Senator Rubio of Florida. It is a deficit-neutral reserve fund 
that encourages the use of college savings accounts. Study after study 
has shown that if young children have even as little as $500 in a 
savings account for college, they are three times more likely to enroll 
in college.
  Access is also reliant on affordability. College savings accounts 
make college more affordable and thus more accessible, but it also 
lifts young people's sights and helps them focus on the importance of a 
college education.


                           Amendment No. 343

  The last amendment is No. 343, which provides for support for farm 
bill conservation programs, which have been cut over the last 5 years 
by $2 billion.
  It is important that we preserve the long bipartisan-supported 
conservation programs in our farm bill that make a huge difference for 
farms of all kinds across our Nation.
  I urge my colleagues to support each of my amendments I discussed.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.


                Amendment Nos. 341, 539, and 795 en bloc

  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside to call up my amendment Nos. 341, 539, and 795 
en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           amendment no. 341

(Purpose: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to the 
         promotion of United States offshore energy production)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. SPENDING-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO THE 
                   PROMOTION OF UNITED STATES OFFSHORE ENERGY 
                   PRODUCTION.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to the expansion of United States offshore energy 
     production that would result in American job growth, lower 
     energy prices, economic growth, and stronger national 
     security by the amounts provided in such legislation for 
     those purposes, provided that such legislation would not 
     raise new revenue and would not increase the deficit over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 
     2025.


                           amendment no. 539

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
      improving Medicaid based on successful and bipartisan State 
                        demonstration projects)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO IMPROVING 
                   MEDICAID BASED ON SUCCESSFUL AND BIPARTISAN 
                   STATE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to initiatives that would improve the Medicaid 
     program and provide stable and predictable funding for long-
     term services and supports under the program, including 
     initiatives that are based on successful and bipartisan State 
     demonstration projects, by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for such purpose, provided that such legislation 
     would not increase the deficit over either the period of the 
     total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the 
     total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           amendment no. 795

  (Purpose: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to 
      authorizing Federal permitting for manufacturing and energy 
construction projects relating to national primary or secondary ambient 
 air quality standard for ozone lower than a certain existing standard)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. SPENDING-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO 
                   AUTHORIZING FEDERAL PERMITTING FOR 
                   MANUFACTURING AND ENERGY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS 
                   RELATING TO NATIONAL PRIMARY OR SECONDARY 
                   AMBIENT AIR QUALITY STANDARD FOR OZONE LOWER 
                   THAN A CERTAIN EXISTING STANDARD.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to the regulation by the Administrator of the 
     Environmental Protection Agency of the national primary or 
     secondary ambient air quality standard for ozone, which may 
     include a prohibition on withholding Federal permits for 
     manufacturing and energy construction projects in States that 
     are in nonattainment with the most recent effective ozone 
     national primary or secondary ambient air quality standard, 
     by the amounts provided in such legislation for those 
     purposes, provided that such legislation would not raise new 
     revenue and would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, speaking first to amendment No. 341, a 
principal challenge in our society today is how do we create better 
jobs with better benefits for working families.
  There are some industries that clearly have done that. Those include 
the energy industry and, by extension, the low cost energy being 
produced domestically that in turn is creating new manufacturing jobs.
  To further this process, I will first point out that over 85 percent 
of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf is closed off to energy exploration 
and production.
  Opening the American OCS, as it is called, will provide hundreds of 
thousands of jobs and increase our national security by increasing our 
energy security.
  My amendment encourages the security and these jobs by opening up 
America's Outer Continental Shelf to energy exploration and production.
  Amendment No. 539. I am a doctor. I have been working in the public 
hospital system of Louisiana for the last 25 years caring for the 
uninsured. I am so aware of the importance of safety-net programs such 
as Medicaid. I point out, though, that Medicaid is a broken program--so 
broken that it is bankrupting State governments and contributing to our 
runaway national debt.

[[Page S1883]]

  The question is how do we preserve this important program but, at the 
same time, also preserve the financial integrity of our State 
government, of our Federal Government, and, if you will, ultimately the 
pocketbook of the taxpayer.
  This amendment would build upon proven models that will provide 
financial security for the patients who benefit from Medicaid as well 
as for the States that provide those benefits for those Medicaid 
patients.
  This is an important beginning to reform Medicaid to preserve its 
benefits, but, again, to protect the American taxpayer.
  Lastly, amendment No. 795. I return to what I said earlier. A chief 
challenge now is how do we create better jobs with better benefits for 
working families. Those jobs oftentimes are in construction, mining, 
and manufacturing.
  The EPA is promulgating new regulations which they estimate for 
ambient air quality standards, which they estimate the cost of 
compliance will be $3.9 billion in the year 2025.
  This is estimated to decrease our gross domestic product by $140 
billion, a $3.9 billion cost, leading to a $140 billion decrease in our 
economy. Inevitably, there are lost jobs associated with it, working 
families that are less well off.
  The EPA would prevent construction of manufacturing and energy-
intensive enterprises.
  My amendment ensures the American energy and manufacturing 
renaissance is not interrupted by EPA's costly regulation. It preserves 
those jobs for the American people.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.


                           Amendment No. 715

  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside, and on behalf of Senator Bennet call up 
amendment No. 715.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Delaware [Mr. Coons], for Mr. Bennet, 
     proposes an amendment numbered 715.

  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To create clean energy jobs through predictable and fair 
                    incentives for renewable energy)

       On page 55, beginning with line 24, strike through line 2 
     on page 56 and insert the following:
     tax on medical device manufacturers;
       (4) operations and administration of the Department of the 
     Treasury; or
       (5) creating clean energy jobs, including extending over a 
     reasonable period of time, as a bridge to tax reform, expired 
     and expiring tax credits for renewable energy production and 
     investment,
  Mr. COONS. I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                  Amendments Nos. 607 and 743 En Bloc

  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, at this time I ask unanimous consent 
that the pending amendment be set aside to call up Senator Thune's 
amendments Nos. 607 and 743 en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           Amendment No. 607

(Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to allow for the 
            permanent elimination of the Federal estate tax)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO PERMANENTLY 
                   ELIMINATE THE FEDERAL ESTATE TAX.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to changes in the Federal income tax laws, which may 
     include eliminating the Federal estate tax, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for that purpose, provided that 
     such legislation would not increase the deficit over either 
     the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or 
     the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 743

(Purpose: To reduce funding for the General Services Administration by 
 $1,000,000 until 50 percent of counties in nonattainment for the 1997 
 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone 
 as of January 30, 2015, achieve the air quality standard set forth in 
  the 1997 NAAQS, and direct those funds to the Administrator of the 
      Environmental Protection Agency for the purpose of helping 
 municipalities reach attainment with the 2008 NAAQS for ground-level 
ozone, acknowledging that (1) given limited State and Federal resources 
and the delay of the Administrator in issuing to States implementation 
  guidance for the 2008 ground-level ozone NAAQS, priority should be 
  given to achieving the 2008 standard, (2) the Administrator has not 
      sufficiently implemented that standard, (3) focusing by the 
Administrator on the most polluted areas that are in nonattainment with 
that standard would benefit public health, and (4) promulgating a lower 
   standard at this time would impose undue costs on the economy and 
                    workforce of the United States)

       On page 20, line 13, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 20, line 17, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 20, line 21, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 20, line 22, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 20, line 25, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 1, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 4, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 5, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 8, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 9, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 12, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 13, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 16, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 17, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 20, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 21, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 24, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 21, line 25, increase the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 43, line 19, decrease the amount by $1,000,000.
       On page 43, line 23, decrease the amount by $1,000,000.
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                  Amendments Nos. 838 and 770 En Bloc

  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
pending amendment be set aside to call up my amendments Nos. 838 and 
770 en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           Amendment No. 838

(Purpose: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to the 
                   disposal of certain Federal land)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. SPENDING-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO THE 
                   DISPOSAL OF CERTAIN FEDERAL LAND.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this

[[Page S1884]]

     resolution for one or more bills, joint resolutions, 
     amendments, amendments between the Houses, motions, or 
     conference reports relating to initiatives to sell or 
     transfer to, or exchange with, a State or local government 
     any Federal land that is not within the boundaries of a 
     National Park, National Preserve, or National Monument, by 
     the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not raise new revenue 
     and would not increase the deficit over either the period of 
     the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of 
     the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 770

 (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to the 
               construction of Arctic polar icebreakers)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO THE 
                   CONSTRUCTION OF ARCTIC POLAR ICEBREAKERS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to the construction of Arctic polar icebreakers, by 
     the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I have two amendments that I want to 
speak to very briefly this evening that I hope we will have an 
opportunity to consider tomorrow when we move to a very accelerated 
process. One of them relates to lands and one relates to water--our 
oceans and how we move about on our oceans.
  The first amendment I would like to speak to is an amendment that 
would establish a neutral reserve fund for land sales, transfers, and 
exchanges.
  Before I get to describing that, I want to take just a couple of 
minutes and speak to the overall budget itself in comparison and 
contrast to that submitted by the President. The budget before us is a 
stark contrast to the President's request, which simply pretended that 
sequestration didn't exist, never came remotely close to balancing, and 
would have led to the return of trillion dollar deficits by 2025.
  The Republican budget we have in front of us, as compared to the 
President's request, while far from perfect--believe me, far from 
perfect--does present a very significant choice between a direction on 
energy that takes us backwards and a proposal that we see laid out in 
this Republican budget that gives us a clear choice when it comes to 
the future of our energy and natural resources policy.
  The President's budget featured tens of billions of dollars of tax 
hikes and fees for our Nation's oil, gas, and coal producers. It would 
have stripped away offshore revenue sharing, which is a matter of 
fairness and should be expanded to all coastal producing States.
  I know that is an issue the Chair and I agree on.
  The President's budget also ignored basic responsibilities such as 
cleaning up abandoned legacy wells that the Federal Government drilled. 
They drilled these years ago, decades ago, and while we have seen major 
spending increases at most agencies and departments, in the one area 
where they are obligated to do the cleanup, we are not seeing that 
addressed. The President's budget would have done nothing to promote 
resource development even in places where there is overwhelming public 
support for it, such as my State of Alaska, which has seen restriction 
after restriction placed upon it by this administration. I have had an 
opportunity to speak many times on this floor about that.
  Instead, the President sought new programs to subsidize the high 
costs of his regulatory plans, and he has tried to find ways to avert 
the serious consequences, such as the weakening of the reliability of 
our electric grid that will consequently fall on its weight.
  Ultimately, the President's budget would have led to lower energy and 
mineral production in our country. It would have lowered energy and 
mineral security. It would have led to fewer jobs, lower revenues, 
higher prices, and higher dependence on others. It would have lavished 
subsidies as it deepens our debt. It takes us in exactly the wrong 
direction when we talk about our energy future, our energy security.
  The President's budget would have done nothing to turn around the 
negative trends we are seeing in production on Federal lands either. 
His energy proposals are about as balanced as the budget that he 
offered.
  As we have seen increased oil production around the country, we have 
seen the benefits that it has yielded in terms of lower prices, we have 
seen the jobs that it has created, and we have seen the opportunities 
for us. Yet this oil production is not happening on our Federal lands. 
It is going gangbusters on State and private lands. Natural gas 
production has outright declined for years on Federal lands, and the 
President's regulators are now hard at work to ensure that coal follows 
suit.
  We talk a lot about the conventional fuels--fossil fuels--and it is 
important to recognize that we are seeing similar patterns on Federal 
lands when it comes to other energy sources. The President talks a lot 
about increasing generation from our renewables. I agree. It is 
something we need to move towards. We are seeing increased renewable 
production, but are we seeing it on our Federal land? It may come as a 
surprise to the Chair and to others in this body what we heard from 
representatives of the wind industry.
  My staff asked what percentage of wind projects are actually on 
Federal land? And surely, given the commitment we have to renewable 
energy, one would expect that to be a high percentage. The answer back 
was hardly any. Some 98.6 percent of wind projects are apparently on 
State and private land--98.6 percent. Not even 2 percent are on Federal 
land.
  That stat shows what we mean and why we are right when we say it is 
incredibly hard to develop any type of energy on Federal lands. 
Secretary Jewell said as much in front of our committee. She said: It 
is just hard to do so on Federal lands.
  So I am glad to be here as the chairman of the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources to affirm that we have a better way forward.
  The energy revolution--renewable and petroleum--in this country has 
been on State and private lands. That is a fact. So I have filed an 
amendment that would complement language that is already in the 
resolution by focusing on sales, transfers or exchanges of land with 
State or local governments.
  The budget resolution already contains language for land acquisition 
and conservation efforts. So nothing in the language that we have 
included in this amendment actually sells, transfers or exchanges a 
specifically identified piece of property. Any legislation enabled by 
this spending-neutral reserve fund will have to go through the process 
and be voted either up or down in regular order.
  The language does specify what cannot be considered, and that is any 
land that is located within a national park, within a national preserve 
or a national monument. Those would continue to be protected.
  This language would provide balance by enabling the types of 
exchanges, sales or transfers with States or local governments that are 
often used to craft balanced, comprehensive land policies, such as we 
did in the lands package on NDAA that we passed last Congress.
  When we have an opportunity to consider this amendment, a vote for it 
is really a vote in support of--as a priority of this Congress--
comprehensive approaches to land policies to facilitate economic 
development, empower States, and improve our conservation systems.
  I would encourage Members to take a look at what I have offered here 
this evening and what I hope we will be able to take up for a vote 
tomorrow.
  The second matter, very briefly--and I know the Senator from Colorado 
is here as well, and others wish to speak tonight--is an amendment I 
have offered just now that I hope we will have a chance to vote on 
which focuses our priorities as a nation on what is happening in the 
north.
  We are an arctic nation. Now we are by virtue of my home State. But 
it is not just Alaska. We are an arctic nation, and as such we have 
responsibilities, we have obligations. There is activity happening in 
the north country that is without question.
  What is also without question is that as an arctic nation, we are 
woefully behind in certain infrastructure related to our Arctic. What 
do most people think of when they think of the Arctic?

[[Page S1885]]

Ice. How do we move through the Arctic Ocean filled with ice? An ice 
breaker. And it is not just for commerce, it is from a national 
security perspective, it is from a research perspective. It is for all 
those things that, again, would allow us to be a leader as an arctic 
nation.
  This is not easy for us, because ice breakers don't come cheap. But 
it should be a priority for us, as a national asset, for an arctic 
nation.
  I won't go through the list of what other nations have in terms of 
their assets, but suffice it to say our neighbors to the east in Russia 
have over 30 ice breakers. The ice breaker capacity our Canadian 
friends have is six.
  But it is not just arctic nations that have arctic capacity through 
their ice breakers. It is nations such as China. Think how far away 
China is from the Arctic. India is considering building an ice breaker. 
Think how far away they are. It begs the question: Why, as an arctic 
nation, are we not stepping up? So I am challenging my colleagues: 
Think broader.
  I invited all Members of the Senate to join the Arctic Caucus and 
understand again what it means for you and your respective States, the 
benefits, but also the obligations.
  I look forward to the discussion on the issue of how we build out our 
arctic capacity and our infrastructure, and I also look forward to 
further discussion on how we can do more to ensure the opportunities we 
have for our economic development and our energy security can continue 
on the lands we are blessed to have as a nation, and the opportunities 
that will be made further available if we are able to move forward with 
the ideas I have proposed this evening.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Colorado.


               Amendments Nos. 485, 490, and 852 En Bloc

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside to call up the Ayotte amendments numbered 485, 
490, and 852 en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are called up en bloc.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           Amendment No. 485

(Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide equity 
     in the tax treatment of public safety officer death benefits)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO PROVIDE EQUITY IN 
                   THE TAX TREATMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER 
                   DEATH BENEFITS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to providing tax equity for death benefits paid to 
     the families of public safety officers who lose their lives 
     in the line of duty, by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 490

 (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to address the 
        disproportionate regulatory burdens on community banks)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO ADDRESS THE 
                   DISPROPORTIONATE REGULATORY BURDENS ON 
                   COMMUNITY BANKS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to alleviating disproportionate regulatory burdens 
     on community banks, by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for those purposes, provided that such 
     legislation would not increase the deficit over either the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the 
     period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.


                           Amendment No. 852

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to 
 providing small business regulatory relief and preventing duplicative 
                  regulations for investment advisors)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO PROVIDING 
                   SMALL BUSINESS REGULATORY RELIEF AND PREVENTING 
                   DUPLICATIVE REGULATIONS FOR INVESTMENT 
                   ADVISORS.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to alleviating regulatory burdens on small 
     businesses, fostering small business export growth, and 
     preventing duplicative regulations for investment advisors by 
     the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 
     through 2025.

  Mr. REED. Mr. President, earlier today I came to the floor to talk 
about the danger this Republican budget poses to our economic and 
national security. I would like to expand on why this budget is out of 
balance and to further highlight the risks of using OCO, as some of my 
colleagues on the other side have proposed, instead of eliminating the 
sequester.
  This budget, instead of taking a balanced approach to growing our 
economy and fiscal responsibility, like raising revenue by closing 
egregious tax loopholes and investing that revenue in job creation 
measures, doubles down on unrealistic and unfair cuts to programs that 
help grow and strengthen America's middle class. This perverse standard 
is evident across this budget and it reinforces a disturbing trend by 
my colleagues on the other side--if it is a broad- based investment in 
our economy, like investing in infrastructure or providing aid to 
jobseekers, then it must be paid for by cuts on the backs of middle-
class Americans; but, if it is for a set of powerful special interests 
like the extension of tax expenditures then the deficit doesn't matter 
to many of my colleagues on the other side. This sort of double 
standard is what causes the American people to feel that Congress is 
out of touch.
  Most alarmingly, this budget does not eliminate the automatic 
spending reductions, known as the sequester, contained in the Budget 
Control Act. The Senate Republican budget leaves hundreds of billions 
of dollars in devastating automatic cuts to discretionary spending in 
place and then makes an additional $236 billion in cuts over 10 years 
to investments for middle-class families. These cuts to our non-defense 
and defense budgets will cause substantial harm to our economic and 
national security. That is why we have to eliminate the sequester--and 
why there must be balance in relief for non-defense and defense sides 
of the ledger.
  Every senior civilian and military leader in the Department of 
Defense who has come before the Armed Services Committee has warned 
that if defense budgets are subject to sequestration, we will likely 
not be able to meet the national defense strategy without an 
unacceptable level of risk. It will have a damaging impact on our 
military readiness, modernization, and the welfare of our service 
members and their families.
  Earlier today I mentioned the testimony of Admiral Gortney and 
General Kelly and how the non-defense and defense sides of the budget 
work together to protect our homeland. Indeed, helicopters and cutters 
from the Coast Guard, which falls on the non-defense side of the 
ledger, are critical to stopping drug smuggling and human trafficking 
into the homeland. And General Kelly made clear that, because of the 
limited number of Coast Guard cutters available, they are only stopping 
about 20 percent of the traffic--and there is a direct correlation: the 
more cutters they have, the more trafficking they can stop.
  Senator McCain and Senator Graham have been trying repeatedly to 
increase spending for defense accounts. Their absolute commitment to 
the men and women of the armed services is without question. However, 
they have been compelled, by those opposed to an increase of the base 
budgets of the Armed Forces and who favor the continuation

[[Page S1886]]

of sequestration, to resort to a budgetary gimmick.
  They would use the Overseas Contingency Operation account to try and 
increase defense spending to the President's base level of $561 
billion.
  First, I believe we should just eliminate the sequester all together, 
and that means going to the Budget Control Act cap of $577 billion for 
defense in FY16. Second, using OCO as an escape valve as my Republican 
colleagues have suggested isn't sustainable. It is a gimmick and as we 
have heard in testimony, OCO funding isn't flexible as discretionary 
spending and could damage our long-term readiness.
  General Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, made this point:

       So first, I would just say there's a risk to not funding 
     the base, in putting it in OCO, because with that has to come 
     flexibility within OCO for us to spend it on the things that 
     are necessary. So . . . because OCO has limits and it has 
     restrictions, and it has very strict rules that have to be 
     followed. And so if we're inhibited by that, it might not 
     help us. What might happen at the end of the year, we have a 
     bunch of money we hand back because we're not able to spend 
     it.

  General Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, made a similar point 
in describing the Air Force's need for modernization and how one-off 
funding through OCO particularly constrains its platform-based force.
  That is not how we should support the greatest fighting force in 
history. This may seem to be a clever way to bypass the Budget Control 
Act, but it has real ramifications for our men and women in uniform.
  Indeed, the problem with these approaches is that they don't work. 
And, it seems even Senator Graham's amendment to boost OCO funding in 
the budget runs into technical difficulties. Indeed, it does not appear 
to do what it purports to do--to boost defense spending--because it 
fails to lift the actual OCO cap. Now, it is true that a budget 
resolution isn't law, but plays an important role in the process of 
governing and setting the rules for our appropriations process.
  Now, I expect there will be an attempt to correct that on the floor, 
but we shouldn't be engaging in these diversions to begin with. We 
should be crafting a budget that is serious and acknowledges our 
economic and security needs.
  So my colleagues and I are offering several amendments in order to 
demonstrate there is a better path and to address some of the glaring 
problems with this budget. However, as we have seen with Senator 
Sander's reasonable attempt to provide $478 billion in transportation 
funding, paid-for by closing egregious offshore tax loopholes, my 
colleagues refuse to agree to the kind of commonsense proposals that I 
believe a vast majority of Americans would support.
  But I hope my colleagues can join with me on some of these types of 
measures like ones to establish a budget point of order that will keep 
borrowing costs down for students; closing egregious offshore tax 
loopholes--which during our last budget debate was a bipartisan 
amendment adopted by voice vote; or lowering drug prices for seniors by 
letting the Secretary of HHS negotiate drug prices--indeed, it is 
particularly troubling that many pharmaceutical companies dodge taxes 
through offshore tax loopholes, but profit off of Medicare, and are 
legally protected from having to negotiate drug prices with the 
government.
  We have a blueprint for responsibly managing the budget and meeting 
the needs of a great and growing nation. It requires a balance of cuts, 
which we have done already, and new revenue. And as we see demonstrated 
by the Republican budget, we cannot cut our way to prosperity--much 
less cut our way towards a balanced budget. And we all know that the 
best way forward is to promote broad-based economic growth so that 
millions of hardworking Americans and their families can have a 
brighter and stable economic future.
  So I hope my colleagues on the other side will join with us in 
supporting amendments that put middle-class families and broad-based 
economic growth first.

                          ____________________